Cameron - time to wake up and smell the PG tips, not just the Fairtrade cappucinos
Come on, Dave. Don’t forget to woo your lumpentoriat-Comment-Columnists-Matthew Parris-TimesOnline
Mr Cameron does go out and about among constituency associations, and wherever he goes they like him a lot. He needs a real drive to do this more. Tory “activists” are not (like many Labour Party members) political nerds; indeed they are not for the most part activists at all; many are mercifully uninterested in Westminster politics. They are more useful than that: part of their communities – voluntary workers, supper-party givers, churchgoers, cottage-hospital fundraisers, magistrates, vilage-fête organisers. They talk to unaligned but Tory-inclined floating voters. What they are saying about Mr Cameron at present is that he seems quite nice but they aren’t sure what he stands for, and they’d like to hear him talk more about wasted taxes and the nanny state.
The parliamentary party are easy to mock, of mixed calibre and, for the moment, easy to disregard; but they murdered Thatcher, Major and almost every leader thereafter. True, there exist among them serious Neanderthals, but if the Tory whips are to target this minority, the leadership needs to inspire more affection among the middling majority. Mr Cameron may need more friends there one day.
The grammar-school storm, ridiculously unimportant as it ought to be, was not the right way to go about winning them. The impression that a small Cameroon clique is running the show may be unfair but it is an audible grumble in the Commons corridors.
And not just there, the view that an Old Etonian elite has hijacked the party for their soppy Notting Hill dinner party policies is growing.