In today’s Times, Tim Montgomerie has an article, offering some advice to David Cameron, to help him deal with his current problems. He points out despite the “omnishambles” of recent months, the polling shows that the electorate still prefer David Cameron to Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, and on the economic front, David Cameron and George Osborne lead the two Eds on the economy, despite George Osborne’s unpopularity and the fact we’re currently in a double-dip recession.
To tap into that polling support, Montgomerie tells The Prime Minister to forego the big speeches, and go out to meet the voters direct.
Letâ€™s see the best of Mr Cameron in the next few months. Letâ€™s see him out in the country, in the regions, in hostile meetings with voters explaining what heâ€™s doing. Letâ€™s see him with commuters, explaining why rail fares must rise so we can have a railway system fit for the next century. Letâ€™s watch him in a village hall in leafy Buckinghamshire, blighted by the high-speed rail link, explaining why it is essential for reconnecting North and South. Let him meet churchgoers and explain that gay people deserve the same opportunity as they do to make lifelong marriage vows to each other.
Each meeting will be tough. There will be very awkward moments. But if he sticks at it, his image will evolve. Heâ€™ll no longer be a PR man, at the mercy of events. Heâ€™ll be the man who holds strong views and has a clear view of where he wants to take the country. Heâ€™ll get to that place, prized by every politician, where voters who disagree with their views can still respect them.
Should Cameron follow Tim Montgomerie’s advice, and if he does, will it be a success?
Mike Smithson is currently on holiday.