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Independent columnist Bruce Anderson has long been a supporter of David Cameron.  Three years ago he wrote a puff piece on him for The Spectator and was one of the first columnists to endorse the MP for Witney’s Tory leadership bid.  It has been suggested that he played an important background advisory role in the early days of Project Cameron.  Mr Anderson is still impressed with Mr Cameron – writing this morning that he is taken seriously throughout Westminster as a potential Prime Minister.

It is noteworthy, therefore, when he says that David Cameron is underperforming in the opinion polls.  This is what Mr Anderson writes for this morning’s Independent:

"The recent polls measure an insufficient achievement. The Government is disintegrating. Everything it touches turns to ridicule. There is hardly a minister who could claim to enjoy the public’s confidence. As for Mr Blair, he appears to have lost interest in Britain’s domestic problems… A PM who is no longer in contact with reality; a set of ministers who cannot cope with it. In normal circumstances, an Opposition with a plausible leader – as Mr Cameron is – ought to be 15 points ahead, not five."

Mr Anderson – pointing the finger at Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude – believes that the Tories must move beyond the ‘modernisation phase’.  He suggests that the modernisers have underestimated their "leader’s powers of salesmanship".  The Tories are already looking nicer and more normal.  Mr Anderson urges an emphasis on "harder-edged" messages:

"A large number of voters now believe that the country is in a mess and that the Government is to blame. They do not just want warm fuzzies from the Opposition. They want to hear their own anger articulated."

On yesterday’s Diary ConservativeHome recommended more attention be given to the concerns of Britain’s strivers.

102 comments for: Bruce Anderson: Time for a harder-edge