The BBC’s Jonny Dymond summed up Young Dave’s personal General Election journey on The World At One: there had been “Not one single unscripted moment, not one chance encounter … I would lay good money that until today he had not met a single un-vetted member of the electorate”. Cameron only meets who Cameron and his team want to meet. And anyone not on their little list is not getting through.
David Cameron is frit of doing this
That little list has not included many journalists working on regional or local papers, who have therefore been shut out of campaign events and prevented from asking questions. That does not look clever: voters may not react well to seeing their local paper snubbed. Perhaps Dave and his team are just busy? Perhaps they are, in the immortal words of Mrs T., frit. One detail from today’s news suggests the latter.
From the genre called Reality TV has come the inoffensive and agreeable Joey Essex: he has appeared in several series of TOWIE, gone off to the jungle to do I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and is one of those people always likely to pop up on daytime shows. He’s set his sights on meeting all the party leaders in the run-up to next month’s poll. What could be more undemanding for a politician?
Even Nigel “Thirsty” Farage had no problem taking Essex up on his offer, although the venue, on a fishing boat in the Humber estuary, may have looked a little bizarre. Corporal Clegg was also up for a meeting, and the obligatory selfie. Mil The Younger has met Essex more than once. And then came the inevitable request to meet Cameron. The response should have been a no-brainer.
Instead, it seems that “no brain” is what has been applied to the idea by Dave and his team. Because they have decreed that Joey Essex is not going to meet their man. As the Beeb has reported, “Reality TV star Joey Essex, who has been filming a documentary series for ITV where he meets various politicians, has said he won't get to meet the prime minister”. Any explanation from the Tories? Er, no.
Essex put a brave face on it: “It's a shame - I'm not meeting David Cameron. I've met everyone else, out of the MPs. I did really want to meet him, but it's not happening... I am a bit gutted”. He will not be the only disappointed one: all those hacks and pundits that have already been shut out of Dave’s stage-managed campaign events will be sharpening their pens and telling anyone who will listen “We told you so”.
And this, along with the lame hatchet jobs on Miliband over who he may have dated in the past, demolishes the media myths: Ed becomes human and interesting, while Cameron the accessible bloke becomes not only aloof and distant, but - in a scene that H M Bateman would have relished - The Man Who Was Scared Of Talking To Joey Essex. Someone at CCHQ is not thinking this campaign through.
It’s almost as if the Tories don’t want to win next month’s election.
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