Regular readers will know I'm a bit of a Cameron fan (now). Recent posts about education policy or his opinion poll ratings give it away a bit. However the think that I am most impressed with is his nose for campaigning.
Really, I hear you think, what about Bromley - or Moray - for that matter? Well, those were CCHQ by-elections. I am talking about Cameron's nose for publicity. Everything Dave does it calculated - from the chocolate orange outburst to his speeches on GWB (general well being). It is dog whistle politics - but for the centre and centre-left. I completely missed the whole work-life balance speeches because I am too busy pondering the EPP-ED issue. However colleagues in work, not natural conservatives, all picked up on it. "I like what your guy is saying at the moment," said one to me this week. Firm policies are still some way away, but Dave is giving us hints as to what his next Conservative government will be like.
ConservativeHome - the most authoratitive Tory site around at the moment - recently highlighted Cameron's campaigning work. Knowing that the national media was hard to crack on those days, Cameron got three major regional papers to cover his work in detail. He was never going to make it big in the nationals that day, so he made sure that Leeds knew that he was against regional assemblies, he made sure that Leicester knew he was in town for the festival and that Yorkshire knew he is against fast food. He could have sat back and let the media tide run over him, but he made news in the big regional papers instead.
Funnily enough, all three were aimed at areas where the Conservatives need to be working hard to re-gain lost ground. I want to see Tory MPs in Leeds and Leicester and so does Dave Cameron, that's why he focuses his attention there. He could play it safe with the press of Windsor, Witney and High Wycombe, but he doesn't.
Cameron has an eye (and a nose) for what works and what doesn't. He plays his audiences well and he is re-positioning the party without the party even knowing about it. Cameron should court the regional press well - they have a massive combined readership. Cameron should also focus on a couple of widely read blogs too and make sure he's a regular on the big radio call-in shows.
Cameron has one hell of a Campaigning Zeal - and the country (and the party) likes it.