So Very Unprofessional: How Did David Cameron Lose His Nerve and His Bearings in Just One Month? Our Political Editor, Martin Bright, Looks at the Disarray That Has Suddenly Engulfed the Conservatives since Gordon Brown Became Prime Minister

By Bright, Martin | New Statesman (1996), August 6, 2007 | Go to article overview

So Very Unprofessional: How Did David Cameron Lose His Nerve and His Bearings in Just One Month? Our Political Editor, Martin Bright, Looks at the Disarray That Has Suddenly Engulfed the Conservatives since Gordon Brown Became Prime Minister


Bright, Martin, New Statesman (1996)


If there was one thing David Cameron had to do during July it was to hold his nerve. While Gordon Brown was enjoying his inevitable honeymoon as Prime Minister, the Tory leader's main task was to show he wasn't rattled. I heard this simple piece of advice from Conservative MPs, activists and right-wing journalists from the moment Tony Blair stepped down. It was even accepted wisdom in government circles. Everyone knew it. Everyone, it seems, except Cameron.

To be fair, he almost pulled it off. He managed to keep it together after the rows over grammar schools policy and museum charges. He refused to bend from his modernising mission even as he failed to gain ground in two by-elections and as national opinion polls were turning against him. He stuck to his guns after visiting Rwanda while his constituency was under water. But he finally lost it just after ten past eight on the morning of the last day of July. Of all places, he chose the public forum of Radio 4's Today programme in which to do it.

In a spectacular schoolboy tantrum, he lashed out at everyone who had dared criticise him, from Stanley Kalms, the former Tory treasurer, to Maurice Saatchi, with whom he had worked running the 2005 Conservative election strategy. But his special wrath was reserved for Ali Miraj, a Tory "A-list" candidate who had chastised Cameron for using "gimmickry" and being "obsessed with PR". In a vicious counter-swipe at Miraj, Cameron suggested that the party's most experienced Muslim activist--appointed by Cameron himself to the Conservatives' commission on international and national security policy--had come to him and asked for a peerage.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Perfect symbol

It was this outburst that showed he had finally cracked. His attack on Miraj was bizarre, intemperate and, as Miraj later told me, "very un-prime ministerial". Little would have been made of Miraj's comments had Cameron not drawn attention to them. On the face of it, the views of a mere former councillor from west London and failed parliamentary candidate should be of little import. But Cameron knows that that does not apply in this case. Miraj is precisely the sort of person Cameron wanted to symbolise the new Conservatives: a successful young Muslim with a sharp grasp of Asian politics in Britain today, who also happens to work for a top City investment bank. He was so keen on him at one point that he was the man chosen to introduce him at the launch of his campaign to become party leader.

I have met Miraj several times and he strikes me as a thoroughly modern Conservative of the sort David Cameron would like us to believe that he, too, has become. He has worked hard as an activist through the dark times for the party, and fought the seats of Aberavon in 2001 and Watford in 2005. He was an obvious choice for Cameron's A-list, designed to help the Conservatives find more black, Asian and female candidates for safe seats. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

So Very Unprofessional: How Did David Cameron Lose His Nerve and His Bearings in Just One Month? Our Political Editor, Martin Bright, Looks at the Disarray That Has Suddenly Engulfed the Conservatives since Gordon Brown Became Prime Minister
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.