Via under-the-table means, ConservativeHome readers had advance sight of David Cameron’s big speech last night. In a sign of the Cameroons keenness to repair relations with the newspaper-of-choice for Tory activists, The Telegraph didn’t have to get hold of its copy in such a way. The speech gets front page treatment today. There are also detailed extracts of the speech printed on page four and a welcoming leader:
"Readers who complain that David Cameron’s approach to politics is insubstantial might usefully ponder his latest speech. The Tory leader is plainly determined to recapture civic society for the Conservatives. The Left, at its core, stands for the power of the state; the Right for the freedom of the individual. But in between the state and the individual is the realm of society: the realm of guilds and orchestras and parish councils and public companies and Girl Guide troops and Facebook communities."
Facebook communities are now a small platoon. What would Edmund Burke make of that?
But, if the Telegraph-Tory relationship is improving, the Mail-Tory relationship continues to be tricky. The longstanding Brown-Dacre affection is reflected in The Mail’s page two lead: Brown to allow UK to have a referendum on Europe. In a leader the Chancellor is described as "Eurosceptic".
The Mail’s Political Editor, Ben Brogan, also speculates that senior Cameron aide George Bridges is to replace Oliver Letwin MP as the day-to-day ‘bomb-proofer’ of the policy review process. Mr Letwin’s role will become more strategic. More annoying for CCHQ is the Melanie Phillips column on page 18: No wonder it’s so hard to trust Dave.
Never one to pull her punches, Ms Phillips says that the Tories are "in panic-stricken disarray." The article contains one attack after another on Project Cameron. Ms Phillips is very much her own person but it is Paul Dacre who generally decides the subject of her Monday column. The fact that he has commissioned this piece from Mel P reveals that the Mail’s ridiculous affection for Gordon Brown appears to be continuing. On tax, support for marriage and investment in crime-fighting, the Chancellor is at odds with the key ‘values’ of the Mail. The Mail’s affection for Mr Brown is a subject for another day, however.
Concluding our brief look at the traditional right-wing press, The Sun Says ignores Cameron’s speech but attacks the handling of the museums issue:
"With Tory poll ratings nose-diving and David Cameron reeling from the grammar schools debacle, another old Etonian on his front bench has a brilliant idea: Scrap free admission to museums. Yes, you read it correctly. Axe the most universally popular initiative of Labour’s entire period in office."
The Sun continues in a line of attack you’ll hear a lot from Brown: "Tory culture spokesman Hugo Swire has never been short of a tenner. And that’s the problem. He and many of his colleagues simply don’t understand ordinary families." ToryDiary covered the museums story yesterday.