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Davis boosts his team – but is it too late?

October 27th, 2005

    How do they campaign now the media has lost interest

A week ago Davis and Cameron were dominating the headlines and almost everything they said and did was being reported and analysed. Now it’s old news and it’s becoming harder and harder for either to get a message through. There will probably be renewed interest a week today when the two appear together on Question Time but it’s hard seeing that publicity boost to the contest lasting.

It’s in this tough context that Davis appears to be making a last ditch effort to make an impact before the ballots start going out at the end of next week According to ConservativeHome two top political PRs – Nick Wood and Nick Longworth have been recruited to add fire to TeamDavis’s media relations capabilities. Wood has worked for the Express, the Times, IDS and William Hague and is known as a big hitter.

The challenge they’ve got is formidable and the bookies continue to make Cameron the 1/10 favourite. The Betfair betting exchange price has also started to tighten in favour of the 39-year old ex-Etonian with the price moving from 0.19/1 to 0.13/1 since the weekend.

    Meanwhile it has become almost accepted wisdom to state that Cameron got where he is on the basis of one speech but looking back at the betting this is simply not the case.

On the morning after Cameron’s famous speech Davis was still well ahead and was being traded at 0.78/1 as he walked onto the platform in Blackpool. It was while his speech was taking place that punters lost confidence in him and within an hour of it being over his betting exchange price had eased to 1.2/1.

    It was Davis’s speech and not Cameron’s that turned the market. The Shadow Home Secretary blew it in those twenty minutes.

We guess that both sides will be watching BBC’s Question Time with a touch of nervousness tonight because on the panel is Derek Conway – the close aide of Davis who in an interview at the weekend accused David Cameron of “sucking up to the press“. Maybe Conway has been invited following his attack on the BBC for “taking leave of its senses in its support” for Mr Cameron.

Mike Smithson






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