The making of David Cameron

Style and no substance? Fabrication or fact? As Tories take centre stage, the carefully crafted image of its leader comes under scrutiny
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Indy Politics

Youth

Dave, as he was known at Eton, makes the others look old hat. He will be 40 a week today - Tony Blair was 41 before he took over as leader. Mr Cameron is more convincing than Gordon Brown when talking about the Arctic Monkeys. Dodging that drugs question may prove a winner among young voters.

Green

He is determined to be seen as taking green issues seriously. He burst on to the political scene on a mountain bike, and went sledding with huskies on a Norwegian glacier to see the effects of global warming first hand. He is switching at home to energy-efficient bulbs, and is installing solar panels and a wind turbine.

Family values

On Saturday, the young Cameron family was pictured shopping in west London - a photocall reminiscent of the Blairs' use of their children when they first entered No 10. The couple's oldest child, Ivan, is severely disabled, and that helped to underline Mr Cameron's caring credentials in last year's leadership race.

New Media

Mr Cameron embraces the MySpace generation, and this weekend launched webcameron.org. His webcast shows him in the kitchen, trying to broadcast (and wash up, with environmentally friendly liquid) while his children interrupt. He looks modern, and it re-affirms his green credentials. Again, he is "New Dad".

Superhero

The historian Andrew Roberts has related how Mr Cameron, then 29, plunged into the sea to save him from a plague of jellyfish off the South of France. It echoed the story in 1999 of how Tony Blair rescued a Danish tourist who was swept out to sea off the Seychelles. That tale, though, proved to be over-spun.

Policies

There will be no policy announcements this week. The Cameron camp says it is far too early to come up with a blueprint for government. But, as our story on page 2 shows, the 'sunshine' values he is espousing seem too centrist for many in his party. They may be happy with his style, but not, as yet, with the substance.

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