David Seymour: Brown closes gap with brazen spin

For someone brought up on the red meat of Margaret Thatcher rallies, David Cameron made a remarkably low-key appearance at the Conservative Party spring forum.

David Seymour
David Seymour

We used to mock the flag-waving old ladies and their singing of Land Of Hope And Glory, but at least it roused emotions. For all the snide criticism about Cameron being a jumped-up PR man, his public relations are remarkably flat. There was no pizzazz to what should have been a barnstorming launch of the Conservatives' election campaign.

Public perception of the party leaders has been turned on its head. Gordon Brown is supposed to be an ad man's nightmare, while Cameron is Mr Slick.

Yet in a couple of weeks during which the Prime Minister's best shot was a stilted, maudlin interview with his old chum (and my old boss) Piers Morgan, while being assailed on all sides by accusations of thuggery and skulduggery, Labour's poll ratings rose and the Tories' shrank. Brown may not have saved his job, but he has made the election a lot tighter.

This has been achieved by doing what no PR professional would dare to do - shamelessly denying the undeniable and brazenly denouncing the patently obvious truth.

The problem for the Tories is that no matter how much they want to ape New Labour's brutal techniques, a nagging incredulity prevents them going all the way. They seem to think: Surely no one would believe that.

Cameron's lacklustre performance in Brighton was the result of not knowing how to respond to the campaign of attack orchestrated with the usual panache by Peter Mandelson.

At a time when politicians are viewed with more contempt than at any time in history - which is really saying something - it is extraordinary that Brown and his spinners are getting away with it.

I pride myself on understanding politics more than most and would really like to be able to explain to you what is happening. But I can't.

- David Seymour is a PR consultant and former political editor of the Mirror Group.

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