Cameron Intent on Stealing Blair's Personality Traits

Article excerpt

NO one should underestimate the political significance of David Cameron's success in the race to become leader of the Conservative Party and, potentially, the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. While we are all used to politicians sidestepping questions, or answering them in an entirely self-serving manner, Cameron simply refused to answer one question at all.

He was asked if he had taken drugs at any time. He had nothing to lose by answering yes, for quite a few politicians have owned up to having had the odd spliff during their university days. And if he hadn't taken drugs, then surely it would have been much simpler to say so? But the position he took was that the answer to the question was irrelevant to his current political ambition.

He quite brilliantly played two cards at the same time; that of trust and dictating the political agenda to his own advantage. Putting it bluntly, he was asking his fellow MPs to make up their own minds about the drug issue. It was up to them to decide if they thought he had taken them and, that if he had, whether it actually mattered anymore. Either they believed that he was right to take the stand that he did, or they believed that he should have answered one way or the other. But he wasn't going to help them make that decision.

And by refusing to give an answer, thereby allowing people to think what they wanted, he ensured two solid weeks of debate and publicity. He almost wiped out interest in every other candidate. What emerged from all of this was the portrait of a man who seemed unafraid of facing down the media, the public and his own colleagues. He stuck to his guns all the way through; and, foolhardy or otherwise, that does require political courage.

Whatever it is the Conservative Party needs in terms of leadership, it clearly needs someone who is capable of attracting attention and someone who seems to have the courage to stand up for himself. Hasn't Cameron done both?

Now, as it happens, I believe that the drugs issue does matter for David Cameron. …