CameronsaysOn Saturday morning David Cameron will speak to his first major Conservative gathering since he became party leader.  Since his election in early December the Conservative Party has increased its opinion poll standing by about three or four percentage points.  The ConservativeHome Poll of Polls still gives Labour a 1.4% lead, however.  ‘Project Cameron’ has a long way to go if the Conservatives are to earn a parliamentary majority of one.

What should David Cameron say on Saturday morning?

  • Should he use it to emphasise his change message?  Should he look to his long-term rebranding of the Conservative Party and say that he is determined to accelerate his change agenda and his emphasis on social justice, environmentalism and equality for women?
  • Should he offer some reassurance to the core vote with some Euroscepticism and tax-cutting?  Might he even deploy the ‘politics of and’ by explaining the compatibility of core and breadth issues?
  • Should he focus 100% on the local elections and put the council tax hike facing pensioners at the heart of the campaign?

Editor’s comment: I would hope that he makes some serious mention of the unfolding tragedy in Darfur.  Darfur is the biggest man-made tragedy in the world today.  David Cameron highlighted the issue on a number of occasions during his leadership bid but 121 days into his leadership he has said almost nothing on this issue.

A challenging article (not online but scanned below) in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by Paul Rusesabagina (whose heroic efforts inspired the Hotel Rwanda film) said that four conditions needed to be in place for genocide to happen:

  1. A cover of war;
  2. Ethnic grievances must be manipulated and exaggerated;
  3. “Ordinary citizens must be deputised by their government to become executioners”;
  4. “The rest of the world must be persuaded to look away and do nothing.”

David Cameron is not Prime Minister and cannot make anything happen directly but he can put pressure on our Government to act in Darfur.  Up to 400,000 people may have been killed in Darfur and the killing and raping continues.  The existing African Union troops in Sudan have no equipment and no clear rules of engagement.  The UN – compromised by Chinese and Russian economic relations with Khartoum – is enfeebled.  Saturday may not be the moment for a big initiative on Darfur but every passing day is another day of shame for what is called the ‘international community’.  Some community.

5.20pm UPDATE: WHAT I DID NOT KNOW WAS THAT WILLIAM HAGUE AND ANDREW MITCHELL HAVE BEEN IN DARFUR OVER THE LAST WEEKEND: ‘William Hague’s video diary from Darfur will be shown on Channel 5 News TONIGHT at 5.30 and 7pm.’ I have just learnt.  (I still think it needs Cameron to put the issue on the political agenda, however).