Insights from the UK and beyond
Does Cameron have the X-Factor?
David Cameron was not the only young contender appearing in Brighton this weekend. While the Conservative leader was addressing activists in a seafront hotel, the fresh young faces from the latest series of the X-Factor were tuning up for a tour date at the Conference Centre a couple of doors along the road.
Cameron is of course engaged in his own struggle for public affection with Gordon Brown and Labour. And what had looked at one stage like a coronation has now turned into a battle royal for the crown.
The Conservative gathering was billed as the “spring forum”, but that definition seemed a little premature when I woke up on Sunday to the sound of icy rain hammering against the hotel window pane.
The Sunday Times headline “Brown on course to win election” did little to lighten the mood of party delegates over breakfast.
Seeking to rally the troops, Cameron spoke without notes. What he gained in spontaneity he arguably lost in fluency.
Like TV’s X-Factor hopefuls he told us of his journey – describing four and a half years taking the party towards the centre ground where it embraces green issues, supports the NHS and welcomes candidates from all ethnic backgrounds.
He broke little new ground but said he was confident he had what it takes to turn this country around.
He rounded off with a call to activists to “win it for Britain”.
So will X mark the spot for Cameron and the Conservatives on the ballot paper? Stay tuned to find out.