OPINION: The Cameron camp should rest and refuel

My heart sank when I read newspaper reports of the Tories’ impending ‘summer offensive against Brown.’ When will politicians ever learn that during the holidays voters want a rest from politics?

Whelan: ‘The Tory Party should shut for August and let the media get on writing about sharks in Cornwall'
Whelan: ‘The Tory Party should shut for August and let the media get on writing about sharks in Cornwall'

I know a politician who does know this and it may surprise you to know his name – Gordon Brown.

The new Prime Minister is the hardest-working person I know. But one thing Brown always insists on is a summer break – even if it does involve reading political memoirs.

Being PM will not change Brown’s holiday habit. His decision to take his break in Britain was a wise move – especially given the current climate.

A quick trip over the pond to see the President immediately after the parliamentary recess isn’t a bad start to his hols, either. Again, he is able to distance himself from Blair and say, ‘I’m a serious ­politician’ – just by meeting Bush in a suit and tie.

David Cameron may wish to note, a little belatedly perhaps, that foreign trips are politically safer when the House of Commons isn’t actually sitting.

One of the many advantages of not having a ­deputy means that the public is spared the annual Prescott pantomime, and if any crisis should occur, the PM is on hand to deal with it.

Poor Cameron, fearful of yet another PR disaster, has been forced to spend his vacation in France. The Tory leader has much to contemplate. He will no doubt be taking a few books to read on holiday, and I suggest he takes some of the many Brown biographies.

I recommend the one by Paul Routledge. From this he will learn just what a formidable opponent he is up against. It was Cameron’s failure to realise this that cost him so dearly in the past month.

He won’t take this advice, but he should also order the Tory Party to shut up shop for August and let the media get on with writing about sharks called Jaws in Cornwall, wild wolves on Dartmoor and other silly-season stories. The Tories can then plan for the battle ahead well rested.

It is vital that Cameron doesn’t panic, and I don’t think he will. The polls may show Labour miles ahead, but they showed the Tories miles ahead a few months ago and can just as easily change back again. A year ago, the polls had the two parties neck-and-neck after a bad by-election for Cameron.

The most important event at the end of the summer is the Conservative conference, and it is this on which the Tory leader needs to focus. Unity must be the watchword and Cameron needs to make the speech of his life. Brown, meanwhile, can take a well-earned rest.  
charlie.whelan@haymarket.com

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