You’d be amazed at how much preparation goes into these big interviews, on our side and theirs. Obviously, most thought goes into the questions and the answers, but apparently trivial issues like location can take on huge significance. We were determined from the outset to be scrupulously even-handed in our treatment of the two candidates. We made exactly the same offer to both – a 20 minute, as-live, uncut interview either in Newsnight’s studio or at a mutually agreed location.
David Davis wanted somewhere near Westminster – we suggested that favourite Tory hang-out the Carlton Club, and he happily accepted. Some – including Cameron’s camp apparently – felt we’d set up Mr Davis by shooting him surrounded by portraits of Conservative elder statesmen, including an imperious Lady Thatcher. Modernising Mr Cameron wouldn’t have been seen dead in such a setting, but Davis knew what buttons he was pressing.
If Cameron wins by a landslide – and the Davis campaign team are now merely battling to avoid that humiliation – it will signal to the public that the nasty party is history. That should translate into more votes rather than core votes.