This morning’s unscripted meet-the-people session was with non-Tory voters who had contacted Cameron via his website. They were all 30somethings, that is very noticeable about Cameron’s grassroots appeal, they are younger. Davis appeals more to older, core right-wing activists (not to say he does not have youthful support, but its ideological, not based on personality or charisma). Davis does not appeal beyond the Tory hardcore.
Last night Davis was playing to the core-vote activists, Cameron was playing to the country. Davis was appealing to older more reactionary impulses, Cameron to younger more liberal values.
On a touchstone issue – drugs – Cameron to his credit did not trim his position by command of the Daily Mail. All serious observers know that classing cannabis, ecstasy and heroin in the same category is ridiculous. The Guardian repeatedly claims that Guido has some expertise in this department, as do the majority of people in this country – millions of people every weekend do recreational drugs. We think that jailing university students for smoking dope is madness, telling them that ecstasy and heroin are equally dangerous flys in the face of what they know to be true. We need a rational drugs policy because the one we have is not working, Cameron has the courage to say that, when it would be much easier to just take the reactionary Daily Mail line like Davis. That policy has failed, the evidence is clear for all to see and expert opinion based on research confirms it.
Basher’s reactionary hardline on drugs shows he is out of touch with the reality of today’s Britain, but it plays well to the Tory gallery, but that won’t win a general election. Nor is it the right policy. When half the shadow cabinet and most of the government (including the home secretary) have dabbled in drugs at some point, what is the point of a pretend policy that does not work with the law ignored by millions of voters? Young voters are turned off by that kind of hypocrisy.