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UK press dissects `boring` Tory leader speech

Last Updated: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 10:50

London: Conservative leader David Cameron`s speech to his party`s conference in Manchester underwhelmed the press when he declared he was ready for power, warning on Friday he still had some explaining to do to voters.
The speech by Cameron -- whose centre-right party is well ahead in polls with a general election due by next June -- did not leave "anyone punching the air", one newspaper said.

Others were more supportive, though, notably the Sun, which announced last week it would back Cameron instead of Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the poll in a blaze of publicity.

"Cam Can Have A Go Cos We Think He`s Hard Enough," its front-page headline read, as the paper praised the Tory leader`s "power-packed" speech.

In the Daily Mail, leading conservative commentator Peter Oborne said Cameron had delivered "the most boring party conference speech in recent political history”.

"No jokes, no drama and not a single new policy announcement of the slightest importance."

But Oborne qualified his criticism by saying that being boring was not necessarily a bad thing.

"Behind Mr Cameron`s turgid rhetoric was the best explanation we have yet heard of how he intends to govern Britain if he wins the next election," he wrote.

The Guardian was less generous, saying Cameron`s "was not a speech that accomplished heavy lifting or left anyone punching the air."

"The Tory leader tried hard to explain why he thinks the state needs to change but said little about how these changes will take place," it said in an editorial.

"He took it for granted that the government is the problem and a lower-spending, less centralised, less predictable society the answer, but did not seem to see the dangers inherent in these plans."

The Financial Times noted that the Conservative conference, which ended on Thursday, was "suffused with the feel of coming power”.

It warned the public had still not been completely won over by the Conservatives, linking much of their support to the unpopularity of Brown`s Labour government.

"There is no consistent overall theme or narrative," the FT said of the Conservatives in an editorial.

"The problem is that the public does not know what, among their competing aims, really matters to the party.”

"Over the coming months, the Tories will need to set out which of their objectives are the most important to them."

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 10:50
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