Had two superb speeches yesterday, yet as different as chalk and cheese. Both got huge standing ovations.
The first, in the morning, was 38 year old David Cameron. He has only served one term in Parliament yet is making a strong run for the leadership. He delivered a 15 minute speech from in front of the podium without notes or prompts. Cameron actually has some charisma and is almost Blair-like at times. He connects to and empathises with people. When he was speaking about the heart-break caused when parents of disabled children (he is such a parent) spend years finding a school that actually can help their child, support him, understand him and then to have the Government close it down – you could have heard a pin drop.
In the afternoon Ken Clarke spoke. An old fashioned Tory who is gave and old fashioned Labour-bashing speech. Clarke is on the left of the Conserative Party and very pro-Europe so has been unpopular with many, However that melted away as he roused the crowd with his pitch that he is the antithesis of the Blair/Brown spin machine and you know what you get with him. By his own term he is a “big beast”.
This has put huge pressure on favourite David Davis as good a speech on Wednesday. Both Cameron and Clarke have raised the bar considerably.
It’s great coincidence to be here at a time when they have a keenly fought leadership contest. Gives a real edge to the meeting.
Wednesday will be interesting, as attending a breakfast meeting on polling and brands, and the panel includes the infamous Charlie Whelan who was Gordon Brown’s spin doctor.