I almost put up a post last night about David Cameron and his press conference yesterday when he spoke about expenses. I have to admit, I only saw what Sky News was looping last night, but I was impressed.
The post I was considering, was to say that, I think for the first time, David Cameron seemed Prime Ministerial, and I was going to ask if he had perhaps replaced Gordon Brown in a increasing proportion of the public's conscience as de facto leader. It all seemed a bit woolly so I decided against putting it up.
Today, at my desk at work with no access to the TV I had a quick look on the PMQ's live blogs as I usually do on a Wednesday lunch-time. I usually look first to the Coffee House blog which pinpoints key sections well and gives a pretty good idea of what happened if you have no pictures to watch. The comments can often be enlightening too.
At the end of today's piece in his verdict, Peter Hoskin says:
"Quite simply: the Tory leader has looked more like a Prime Minister-in-waiting over the past two days."
So in that vein, I firstly (again) rue not posting something that I perhaps should have, and secondly, somewhat belatedly, ask this question: Is David Cameron now the Prime Minister in waiting?
Now, by this I mean a little more than will the Conservatives win the next General Election.. because I think everyone now thinks they will, even the current Labour Cabinet thinks so.
When opposition leaders assume power, there tends to be over a few months a refining of their demeanour, in their speech patterns, in the way we listen and what we take from what they say. Typically this happens after power has been assumed, and as the challenges of Governing start to shape the person in the job. I personally think it is often a two way street as the relationship between a leader and an electorate evolves. In my opinion it took Tony Blair a few months, Barrack Obama is slap in the middle of such a transformation. For George Bush didn't happen until the afternoon of September 11th 2001, and for Gordon Brown it hasn't really happened at all. They go from being a party leader and politician to being a leader of people. Not everyone will like them, or agree with them, but that is who they become.
Watching clips from the news last night, it did not strike me until afterwards what I had liked about it. Sure, it is right that opposition MP's are paying back the ill-gotten money and in the future David Cameron can rightly point back and say he took a leadership decision in the absence of the right rules and a vacuum of leadership on this one issue. But, I walked away and felt he was now communicating as a leader of more that just the conservatives, but for all of us.
Now, I have said before I am luke-warm on David Cameron, but that is in a policy sense. I think he is a very good communicator, and I think he will make a good leader. The point is, I think where there is an absence of leadership from the Prime Minister on so much and for so many, I think David Cameron is starting to step into the breech on those matters. I think whereas others have taken the top job and become Presidential or Prime Ministerial from the challenges of the job; for David Cameron this small transformation has already begun.
What do you think?
postscript: As I mentioned, no TV.... If you are commenting and saw it - did the question of the speaker come up during PMQ's?