James Forsyth

Time for Cameron to put his colleagues front and centre

Time for Cameron to put his colleagues front and centre
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Judging from the interview with Alan Johnson in The Sunday Times, Labour have given up on its attempt to character assassinate David Cameron. Johnson concedes that Cameron is “likeable” and that “He’s articulate. He’s a nice guy.” But Johnson argues that Cameron’s own qualities don’t matter that much as this “is a party system” and Cameron’s party hasn’t changed.

Labour’s new line of attack is hardly novel but it marks an important step for Cameron, it is a recognition that his persona is established enough with voters that it can’t be changed by ever more vigorous attacks from his opponents. Cameron now needs to adapt his approach to this new reality.

The leadership has long taken the view that the only way to guarantee publicity for the party’s line is for Cameron to state it himself. There is, though, a danger in this approach. It means that the electorate has little idea of who the Tories are other than Cameron. This, in turn, makes it easier to demonise the rest of the party. With even Labour having to recognise that Cameron is now established in the public mind as a nice, likeable man, Cameron should cede some of the limelight to his colleagues.

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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