Five: Before the debate began, there was much noise from Tories about how good Cameron was going to be and very little expectation management. That set the bar far too high for Cameron. Even if his performance had been superb, it would only have been “as expected”.
Four: Not an easy one this, but he should have looked more rested. He looked tired and worn out. As his offer is – at least in part – about being “the future”, he needs to be able to contrast his energy with Brown’s lack. He failed to do this.
Three: He got his facts wrong totally unnecessarily. There wasn’t a need to talk about the cars at that point and if he is challenged on funding specifics – and he must have known he would be, it’s the drum Labour’s been banging for a while – he should have come up with something better.
Two: He looked by turns bored, frustrated and angry. He looked at times like he was holding in a tantrum. Iain Dale discusses here that the calm may have been a deliberate attempt not to seem like a bully. I think that may well be true, but it looked weird and unnatural. He came across as both fake and disinterested.
One: “I was in Plymouth recently, and a 40-year-old black man made the point to me. He said, “I came here when I was six, I’ve served in the Royal Navy for 30 years. I’m incredibly proud of my country. But I’m so ashamed that we’ve had this out-of-control system with people abusing it so badly”".First of course this quote begs the question – was this man 10 when he joined the Navy?
More than anything it’s very, very lazy. It’s intellectually lazy to believe that black people can’t be racist, and so to conjure a mythical example as a buffer when discussing immigration. The fact that Cameron clearly hadn’t done a proper amount of prep – and you do get the feeling he likes to wing it – and his not bothering either to better control his emotions or to better express them also shows a certain contempt for the process. He needs to be really, really careful not to show this. Contempt for the process is easily translatable into a belief that he believe in his “right” to rule. With his heritage and his party’s background, that kind of lazy arrogance could do him a lot of damage in the eyes of an electorate who clearly haven’t made up thier minds.