Janet Daley had a comment piece in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph suggesting that whilst David Cameron has succeeded "in establishing a new dimension to his own public persona as honest and respectful of the electorate's intelligence" there is still something 'missing'. Daley continues: "And yet, and yet – there is still a sense that voters are reconciled to a Conservative victory rather than looking forward to it. They expect to see Labour vanquished, but its defeat will be marked mostly by relief: a party now so lost in desperation and deceit that it seems unable to present a consistent argument on anything is to be flushed from office to be replaced by – what? A fresh-faced new team who are promising to deliver – what?"
Exactly! The country would like to know - and there is a moral obligation on Cameron to spell out exactly what they are proposing. It is no good just leaving it until the time comes to publish the Conservative Party Manifesto, which in turn leaves little time for debate and investigation of said manifesto. That is hardly establishing his honesty and respect of the electorate's intelligence.
Neither is Cameron's silence on the question of the UK's continued membership establishing his honesty and respect of the electorate's intelligence. Writing in today's Daily Telegraph (no link) James Kirkup informs us that William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, has privately advised Mr. Cameron that Europe is a 'ticking timebomb' under his leadership. Just as important, on the honesty front, is a quote from a 'strong sceptic on the Tory frontbench': "Is our current policy satisfactory? Of course not. But if you think I'm going to jeopardise an election victory by starting to speak out about that in pubic, you've got another think coming." This underlines, and at the same time highlights, the old problem with present party politics - and is something for which Labour has been rightly criticised - namely that the Conservative Party appear to be putting their own goals ahead of the good of the country.
Should the Czechs not ratify the Lisbon Treaty by the time of the next General election, David Cameron will, to a certain extent, have been 'let off the hook'. Richard North, over at EU Referendum, has touched on this with his post 'Consequences'. Stating that "He will then be in the awkward position of supporting the "no" campaign, in the middle of trying to establish his own administration." Richard North is right in saying that Cameron will be between 'a rock and a hard place', especially when one considers that he will be campaigning, during the General election, on the UK remaining a member of the EU, whilst at the same time possibly promising a referendum which would throw that membership into turmoil.
Returning to the article by Janet Daley, towards the end of her piece she writes: "There is a really compelling story to be told, if the party could just find the courage to tell it...." The one attribute which does seem to be missing from Cameron's public personna is that encapsulated in the word 'courage' - does he have the courage to be 'honest' with the electorate?