Saturday, October 10, 2009

David Cameron on poverty

David Cameron is not a rhetorical speaker. He does not reach the verbal heights of a Barack Obama or of my old friend Mark Francois. He doesn't communicate the raw emotion of a John Prescott. However, he doesn't take the route of purely logical argument either. This is best exemplified by Gordon Brown, whose speeches are like being sprayed with information to a point that you start to lose the will to live. In fact, you tend to get the feeling that the main purpose of his speaking is to establish how intelligent Gordon Brown is relative to you. In any case, David Cameron has a very plain speaking style, in fact a studied lack of style that is either very natural, or the product of intensive training. The effect is pretty good though, and his conference speech was a statement of vision delivered without drama, except for one moment. At one point he looked right into the camera and told the Labour party not to dare to lecture the wicked Tories on poverty after their many failures. It was brilliant and spine-tingling, and I am told that it was electric in the conference hall.

My judgement, and that of most opinion-formers, is that David Cameron not only delivered an effective speech, but parked his tanks neatly on Labour's lawn. It was also the right thing to focus on. To paraphrase, the Conservative Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing. It is just that it usually doesn't mention it.

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