After well over a decade in opposition, a Tory leader today gave his conference speech as Prime Minister. So how did it go?
Well, that would depend who was making the assessment. Cameron has been praised by the usual suspects: Iain Dale, a compliant and reliable conduit for Tory propaganda, obediently labelled it “A powerful, meaty speech”. Unfortunately for Dale, this view was not universally held.
The Guardian’s reader reaction worm, which tracks reaction to the speech as it is being delivered, hovered initially around the zero mark – neither positive nor negative – but then declined into forthrightly negative territory. PA political editor Jon Smith was clearly underwhelmed: “lacked conviction as much as inspiration”.
Even over at the normally sympathetic Maily Telegraph, Mary Riddell was also unimpressed: “much of what he had to say was small-minded, parochial, and vague”. Why should this be? Well, Young Dave is still banging on about the so-called “Big Society” idea. But Riddell says it all in the headline of her piece: “... remains as big a mystery as ever”.
And that despite Cameron shamelessly borrowing from Lord Kitchener, telling his audience that “Your Country Needs You”. Comparison with a war that left one and a half million British soldiers dead, and well over two million injured, does not sound a happy one.
Perhaps it is a signal that some of the less fortunate citizenry will in some way be sacrificed for the good of others. That, after all, was what the Great War was about: the last time that the lower orders did what their lords and masters told them.
Or maybe there is a message I haven’t managed to decode in Young Dave’s effort, which included in its peroration “So come on – let’s pull together. Let’s come together”.