Can Paxman put a smile back on Davis’s face?

Can Paxman put a smile back on Davis’s face?

    Will Cameron survive the “ordeal by Newsnight”?

Six months and ten days after the marathon Tory leadership started the the look on Davis’s face says it all. After being front-runner for so long and then seeing the events in Blackpool turn the contest on its head is there anything he can hope for from the campaign’s final set piece tonight when David Cameron faces Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight?

For if there is going to be a last minute upset then the Paxman interrogation will be the occasion for it to happen. And after putting the label of “shit” to David Davis last week Paxman is not going to pull any punches with the young ex-Etonian who stormed into contention with his speech in Blackpool barely six weeks ago.

    Are we going to see much deeper probing of the personal drugs issue which dominated events last month? How is Cameron going to cope with Paxman’s forensic approach to his policy-lite campaign strategy which he seems to have maintained so far. Or has Paxman got an ace up his sleeve that will knock the 39 year old off guard?

With perhaps half the Tory member electors having already sent their completed ballots off it will take a sensational development to change the course of this contest – and Paxman, surely, is the only person who could achieve that.

Given the betting prices on Cameron are so tight – the best you can get is 0.08/1 – it might be worth waiting for the interview before putting money on. If Cameron does slip up then prices could move.

Alastair Campbell says Cameron is the heir to Alastair Campbell
. In his rather self-indulgent column in the Times this morning Campbell notes: “…He (Cameron) knows how to craft a line and put it over. He has a feel for what tickles the media’s fancy, what makes a story and how to get it up as a headline, what combination of action and demeanour keeps the photographers happy. He knows how to take a line of attack against him and turn it into a line of attack against his attackers. These are skills all press officers deploy from time to time. And every leader in the media age needs this kind of professional support..There were plenty of times when Mr Blair would take my advice. But not for one second did I ever imagine I could do his job, let alone do it better than he did. I might have thought I did my job better than Messrs Major, Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard did theirs, but I always knew that their job was tougher. I’m not sure that Mr Cameron appreciates the difference. “

With the new register of MPs financial interests several papers this morning look at who has provided financial backing for the two campaigns. The Guardian contrasts the backgrounds of those giving money to the two camps.“..Many of the backers of David Davis are ruthless entrepreneurs, scions of gamblers and shipping magnates, or nightclub owners – and one is a popular thriller writer, Frederick Forsyth.But the backers of David Cameron are more often wealthy philanthropists, stockbrokers, private bankers and media moguls.”

Mike Smithson

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