It’s all getting rather repetitive. Rachel Sylvester navigates her way along Team Cameron's increasingly bumpy road, making a number of key points, this one being the most important:
There is growing concern among some Shadow Cabinet ministers and strategists about the increasingly aggressive tone Mr Cameron uses against Mr Brown. It is, they believe, no coincidence that the poll gap has narrowed as the Tory leader launches a series of increasingly vitriolic personal attacks on the Prime Minister. Last week, for example, by turning the bully into the victim, Mr Cameron seems to have simply solidified support for Mr Brown….The Tory leader’s attacks sound high-handed and arrogant, playing into the “born to rule” image and reminding voters of his party’s “nasty” past.
A frontbencher tells her:
It’s perfectly legitimate to frame the election as a choice between Brown and Cameron and negative campaigning has a part in that. But David shouldn’t be doing it himself. We need a Norman Tebbit, an attack dog who can do it on his behalf.
Ken Clarke would be effective in this vital role. He would also be able to deflect the increasing Labour attacks on George Osborne.
If he [Cameron] continues to concentrate on a character assassination of the Prime Minister rather than on emphasising what he would do in No 10, he will turn off voters — particularly women. If he uses the sort of language in the TV debates that he has deployed in the Commons recently the electorate will be appalled. It would be a huge mistake for the youthful challenger to turn himself into the big clunking fist.
The concern for the Tory party is that Cameron is stuck in a grove. But he does need to listen to this advice and change his little ways.
Presently, there is no sign that he will.