Tuesday 20 April 2010

Cameron will be heir to Clegg (again) on Thursday

I made a prediction for the second debate on twitter last Friday lunchtime:

debate 2 predicts: Cameron will (i) name check every questioner, (ii) look down camera. He's heir to Clegg! (again)

Confirmation comes on page two of today's Financial Times, reporting that David Cameron will 'change his body language' rather than his argument, with a Cameron insider telling Jean Eaglesham:

The problem was not with what David was saying, it was the way the presentation came across. You might see a different David who's much more relaxed,'

Alastair Campbell is understandably gobsmacked at that being their briefing line.

After all, while David Cameron had a very slight lead as most competent Prime Minister in the Guardian/ICM poll yesterday - Cameron 32, Brown 30, Clegg 21 - dealing with the depth and authenticity doubts are his central challenge, as another finding suggests:

More about spin than substance? Cameron 44, Brown 29, Clegg(mania) 19.

My advice to Gordon Brown would be to carry on debating in his own style, as he did in the first debate: if all three of them are looking down the lens and name-checking every questioner, they would all look ridiculous and inauthentic.

One Nick Clegg copycat in the debate would surely be enough.

By the way, Cameron's first "heir to Clegg" moment came last month with the LibDem leader's rather right-leaning Spectator interview with Fraser Nelson saying that Maggie bashing the unions was an example of how he would take on the "vested interests" of the banks.

That same weekend, within 48 hours, Cameron made a speech more or less reading that out and pretending it was all his own work.

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