Cameron - not as good a phony as Blair?

David Cameron has discovered passion, ten days before the election.  It does, admittedly, come a day after a couple of big-time Tory donors criticised the Prime Minister for being lacklustre and uninspired.  As such, Mr. Cameron's passion has been treated rather cynically by the hacks, as this run-down of tweets indicates.  One of the Tory donors in question has now rather degradingly withdrawn all of his criticism and described himself as a "nobody" but Cameron's attempt to inject passion still seems redolent of what Spectator columnist Isabel Hardman calls his "essay crisis" style of leadership.

The problem is that Mr. Cameron is no great actor, and his pumped-up performance, containing such gems as the revelation that he feels "bloody lively" about the election, really doesn't convince.  He has managed to enter Ed Miliband's equally cringe-worthy "Hell, yes" territory and in straying away from his actual persona he risks the same level of ridicule.  Perhaps in such a close election, with no-one being able to identify the election grail, we should be a little forgiving of politicians under pressure, and that would include Mr. Cameron's football "brain fade" as well.

Cameron recently implied he was a West Ham fan (perhaps a little influenced by the fact that his small business ambassador and letter-writing supporter, Karren Brady, is currently vice-chairman of the club).  This is at odds with his earlier stated support for Aston Villa, which itself was at odds with his one-time expression of utter disinterest in football at all.  The fact is, rather like his "bloody lively" attitude, Cameron's football fan pitch doesn't really convince.  In this, as in much else, he appears to be following the lead of that other public-school educated fan of the working man's game, Tony Blair.  Blair, though, was a far more accomplished phony, as this illuminating and rather contemptuous article from the Economist suggests.

Perhaps we should be pleased that Cameron is not a very good phony, but it would be even better if he just felt comfortable showing us the real him.  He's not too difficult to discover, and his interview in this week's Economist gets rather closer to understanding his essentially pragmatic approach to governing than his pumped-up stump speech.


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