Leading article: Cameron can't just rely on mood music

Share
Related Topics

After an initial surge in support, the party is again flat-lining in the polls, sometimes running neck and neck with Labour on around 35 per cent but never advancing into a big lead. The party has gained a few celebrity endorsements from the likes of Jeanette Winterson; it has also put on a few thousand more members, though not nearly enough to transform its overall profile. No wonder we can hear the sound of knives being sharpened in corners, as party grandees' talk of "concern" with Mr Cameron's performance fills the air. Mr Cameron's great problem is that the public's disillusion with Tony Blair has yet to rub off on the Government as a whole. That may change if, as seems likely, the high-street recession gets worse, and jobs begin to disappear in large numbers. But for the moment the public still sees Labour as a fairly competent team. Ministers have not faced the equivalent of the Tories' Black Wednesday moment in 1992, when public trust in the Government's basic management skills virtually disintegrated overnight.

This makes the mountain all the harder for Mr Cameron to climb. He has not only to persuade the public that the Conservatives are not the nasty party they might think they are. He has to make them positively want to choose the Conservatives over a Labour Government in which many people still grudgingly repose their trust.

What the tepid reaction to the Manchester conference showed is that merely putting on a fresh face is not enough. Nor is simply mouthing the word "change", when no one seems to know precisely what change is in store. Where are the policies on the big issues such as the health service, pensions, tax, schools and crime, which are going to give people a positive incentive to choose Mr Cameron over Mr Blair, or, rather, over Mr Blair's presumed heir, Gordon Brown? They have yet to be seen.

Some say he is right to keep his counsel and not be pushed into making premature commitments. That advice may have been fair enough in the early days of his leadership, but now that Mr Cameron has been in charge of the party for four months, doubts are surfacing as to whether he has anything up his sleeve at all. It is time he stopped trying to soothe us with "mood music" and gave us something more significant to listen to.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Technician

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established dealer gr...

Recruitment Genius: Contact Centre Team Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is the UK's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Shunter / HGV Driver

£23172 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading and fastest growing h...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager / Estate Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an experienced Resident...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Greek Yes voters were so shy they didn’t even turn up to the polling stations

John Rentoul
epa04832814 Supporters of the 'No' campaign wave flags and react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma Square, in Athens, Greece, 05 July 2015. Greek voters in the referendum were asked whether the country should accept reform proposals made by its creditors. 10367444  

Greek referendum: As Greece spirals towards disaster, a new era of extremist politics begins

Daphne Halikiopoulou
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate