This lunchtime I ventured to Tooting to hear David Cameron lay out his plans for beating Gordon Brown and winning the next general election. Two other Ealing councillors were there: Edmund Yeo and Jim Randall.
It was good stuff and the way Cameron contrasted centralised state control, so inextricably linked with Gordon Brown, and his own vision of social responsibility resonated with me at least. The “Our society. Your Life” line did not work quite so well with me but I got the idea. It was a great event with 200 activists enthusiastically welcoming what Cameron had to say. I could have done without Fancis Maude as MC but the warm up acts, two PPCs plus MPs Grant Schapps and Michael Gove were all good and went a long way to showing that the Conservatives have a whole range of talent.
In questions Michael Crick, Newsnight’s political correspondent, had a go at Cameron on his “grammar stream in every subject, in every school” offering. “Would Cameron allow schools to opt out if they wished?” Yes, of course he would as Cameron wanted more choice for parents and more independence for schools so if parents liked a school without a grammar stream then fine. Crick back in box. I can guarantee that this segment will not appear on Newsnight tonight as it made Crick look a twit.
Winston MacKenzie, complete witrh fedora, introduced himself as the leading Conservative candidate to be London Mayor. Cameron was quick to quip “You are now”. His rambling question was basically: “How are you going to reach black boys?” Cameron’s answer was through their parents and their community which is what he means by social responsiblity. McKenzie did not say that he used to be a Veritas man.
Channel 4 tried to ambush Cameron with an unpublished poll to be aired tonight on C4 which seemed to be a bit rude as no-one else knew what the guy were talking about. Talk about up yourself.
The message I will take back to Ealing, which comes naturally anyway to me and is pretty much the Ealing Conservatives’ motto, is “standing up for all of the people, all of the time”. Amen.