Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Difficult Day

Let's be frank- even we core DD supporters have always known that big set piece platform jobs are not his strongest suit.

And actually, he did fine yesterday. Yes, I know what the media say about muted applause and a perfunctory standing ovation, but it didn't feel anything like that where we were sitting.

The trouble is of course, he suffered by comparison with excellent speeches from Ken, DC, and the Doc.

We commented on DC and Ken yesterday, and everything we heard around the Winter Gardens yesterday confirms that Ken would still risk splitting the party.

On DC, we went to a fringe event where he was "in conversation" with Andrew Rawnsley. Like the rest of his campaign, it seemed highly controlled, with no unvetted floor questions. But Rawnsley actually gave him a fairly tough time- tough enough to bring hisses of disapproval from the DC supporters.

He homed in on the experience issue, asking DC if he'd ever had to make a really tough political decision: tough in the sense of Tony Blair's decision when he was shadow minister not to reintroduce the closed shop. The answer of course was 'no', and R put it to DC that Bruiser Brown would "eat him for breakfast". It was a phrase that clearly resonated with the audience. DC is a great prospect- but it's far too soon.

The Doc was in his element yesterday- passionately preaching that old-time religion to the converted. Who doesn't want to see taxes cut, two-fingers to Europe, and a return to family values? Trouble is...darn it...the real world ain't quite that simple. But he did a great job on the platform.

So back to Davis. Oh how we supporters wish he could take wing on that platform like some of the others. And I'm still pretty sure he can do better with more practice and maybe some fresh input on the scripting side.

But right now we are where we are.

We think William Hague- who gave a great uplifting speech yesterday- has got it right. He is rightly refusing to say who he'd back. But this morning on R4 Today, he as good as said he was also disappointed by the reaction the DD's speech. However, it is vital we all keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. We need above all a leader who will both unite the party, and who will take us forward on the substance of policy- not just engage in cosmetic make-overs.

Absolutely right William. And we hope you will do what you can to steady the good ship DD while we members reflect on the real trials ahead.

We must not waver, and we must not be distracted by the glitzy frothy world of the media celebrity machine. Those whom they raise up one week are the very souls they will cast down into the pit the next.

Substance and unity. That's what we must remember.
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