Cameron hoping his luck will hold

DAVID Cameron is likely to down in history as a lucky man. He crashed onto the Tory scene at the right time, when the party was desperately searching for a winner, and with one mesmeric speech leapfrogged over better known candidates and to the leadership by storm.

By Graham Dines

DAVID Cameron is likely to down in history as a lucky man. He crashed onto the Tory scene at the right time, when the party was desperately searching for a winner, and with one mesmeric speech leapfrogged over better known candidates and to the leadership by storm.

Since December, he has been able to shake the Tory tree, upsetting a few on the right, but taking the majority of the party with him as he has reformed its character and public appearance.

He's lucky that he has not had to say very much on policy. He's got away with sound bites and appearances in the melting Arctic ice and in the slums of Mumbai, looking and sounding like a new breed of politician.


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But the greatest luck of all is that his arrival coincides with the departure of Tony Blair. Labour will be without its chief talisman, which means the next election will be fought on a more level playing field.

Already the opinion polls are going the Tories' way for the first time in 1992. Bookmakers have shortened the odds on a Conservative win at the next election because they believe there is no-one in Labour's ranks who can successfully take over Mr Blair's mantle.

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And the Conservatives predict luck will deliver Gordon Brown as Labour leader, whom pollsters are increasingly finding lacks any voter appeal.

And in this age where image is all important, the deliberate Tory strategy has been to promote David Cameron as a one man band. Most people would struggle to name a single member of the shadow cabinet because it's Cameron who is always in the limelight.

The Tories meet in Bournemouth this weekend a reinvigorated party, believing in themselves again, and sniffing the scent of victory in the sea air.

Cameron has been pressing all the right buttons. He has pitched his appeal to the 18-45 generation, which is increasingly social aware and is desperately concerned about global warming and world poverty.

These are not traditional Tory areas. But Cameron has made them so, which has cleared rattled Labour.

Bournemouth will find the Tory Party as united as Labour in Manchester was disunited.

There may be a few mutterings that Cameron is taking the party too far to the left, but in truth he is only marching his troops back to their traditional home, on the centre-right One Nation wing of British politics.

The representatives will be docile, ready to acclaim their new leader who 12 months ago gave the performance of his life which catapulted him to win the Tory leadership contest in November.

The one scare was the Bromley and Chiselhurst by-election, where the Liberal Democrats reduced a massive Tory majority to just a few hundred.

That apart, it's been Cameron's year. And Tony Blair's farewell speech to his conference this week leaves a void which the Tory rank-and-file claim is Cameron's for the taking.

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