Cameron Campaigns Through the Night: What Does that Tell Us?

May 5, 2010

David Cameron plans to spend the last night of campainging working through the night. What does that tell us about the leadership election?

According to the BBC:

David Cameron is campaigning through the night from Scotland to Bristol, chasing votes in the final hours before the UK goes to the polls. “We are going at it all night and all day.. all the way to polling day,” he has said. “That is the way we are going to win the election.” BBC correspondent Chris Buckler, on board the Tory leader’s battlebus overnight, said Mr Cameron was largely going without sleep, only snatching brief rests in the back of the bus between stops.

I can stay up all night, I’m a big boy now

The Leaders of the UK’s competing parties have been captured by an old-fashioned notion of how successful leaders behave. The rhetoric of team players has been silenced by the actions of ‘look at me I can stay up all night, I’m a big boy now’ .

David Cameron for reasons known to himself and his advisors decided to campaign all through the night as the election campaign draws to a close. If the conservatives win, maybe we will see even more mind-numbing displays of macho-leadership in the future.

The campaign has been identified as evidence of a move toward ‘American style’ electioneering. By that is meant a more personality-dominated style of electioneering. Leadership style is believed to be important. Cynical voices suggest that style is all important, and that the Prime Minister has such an unfortunate public speaking style that he is unfit for that high office.

A former Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, warned of a future in which ordinary people should beware of being poor, or being in ill-health, or needing basic social services. Paraphrasing this, the rules for our political leaders today include:

Do not be old (Ming Campbell, Vince Cable)
Do not be uncomfortable under the scrutiny of cameras (Gordon Brown)
Do not be unattractive of appearance (leave you to fill in this one. If he had still been around, perhaps the gifted Robin Cook)
Do not be unconventional in appearance (Kenneth Clark)
Do not be too serious (Gordon Brown)
Do not rely on rational argument or supplying lists of statistics (Gordon Brown again).
Do not appear tired but show you are the man to lead the Country by staying up all night on the eve of the election. (David Cameron).

Overdosed on news

I am still interested in the result. Of course I am. The possibilities from a hung Parliament are fascinating to consider. But I’ve overdosed on the news coverage which, after a promising start, has become style-obsessed. And if, as seems likely, first results are too close to predict the overall result, I’m for a good night’s sleep.

Unfair to Cameron?

Maybe he is being swept along by events and feels he has no choice. But at some earlier time, when plans were being put in place, did no-one suggest an alternative to an all-night slugfest?


Tired Teddy from