Cameron has a lot to do – verdict

A mixed reception has greeted David Cameron’s relaunch in Brighton. Why should this blog be interested, apart from the handful who want to integrate with the main UK party system? Because to put it at its narrowest, under devolution the shape and size of the budget for England sets the pattern for spending policies for Stormont to adopt or change for Northern Ireland. Ben Brogan, leading Tory protagonist is certain Cameron did the biz in Brighton – a little moral panic is in order.

Brogan says:

Mr Cameron is promising to focus on – broken society, broken economy, broken politics – and the six priorities he will pursue in office: cutting debt, promoting enterprise through tax cuts, helping family life, protecting the NHS, improving school standards, and cleaning up politics.

For Matthew Engel in the FT, the verdict is the opposite.

If he had spent less intellectual energy on memorising the speech, he might have remembered to say something fresh and inspiring. Oh, it was well-crafted, and well delivered, too. He just didn’t have anything to say

Boris in the DT, off message as usual , is actually complacent. Is this the voice of the man who’ll bid to tumble Cameron if he stumbles?

I reckon the voters will enter those polling stations and give a chance to a sensible and compassionate Conservative administration.

Jon Cruddas, a potential Labour leader in waiting is a believer in a Tory split. He would say that wouldn’t he? He has the gall to add that the Tories are dogged by Thatcher’s long shadow but manages to airbrush out New Labour’s role in prolonging it.

(Cameron’s) compassionate Conservatism detoxified the Tory brand, but it is opposed by a free-market hinterland of hard right prospective parliamentary candidates amongst others. Now falling polls and faltering morale are galvanising them to rally against him.

What’s surprising is that even at this late stage, the Conservative message is exposed as work in progress. Latest Leading Tory fianancier Lord Ashcroft has just fessed up to “ non-dom” tax status for his £850 million earnings, although this is against the terms if not yet against the law, for accepting a peerage. He was just step ahead of the posse before an FOI request exposed him. Does this lance a Tory boil or cause it to erupt? Another dilemma facing Cameron.