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Delivering the 'Conservative dream': David Cameron explored

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By Sarah Taylor
Delivering the 'Conservative dream': David Cameron explored

<p>He’s well-known for waving and likes to give the ‘thumbs up’. Looking for the ‘alternative vote’, the Conservative Party’s top man is campaigning on policies centering around ‘delivering the Conservative dream’: strong leadership, a clear economic plan and a brighter, more secure future. But who is David Cameron? </p> <p>As Britain prepares for its closest election race since the 1970s, we take a more in-depth look at the highs and lows of the man in charge of <a href="https://www.conservatives.com/">the Conservatives</a>.</p> <h3>Cameron’s style:</h3> <p>At the launch of his party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election, Cameron decided not to go down the common route of negative campaigning, choosing instead to focus on what the Conservatives can offer voters. </p> <p>So what are the main points of the Conservative Party manifesto?</p> <p><strong>‘Party of the working people’</strong><br /> In an effort to attract voters who may have deserted in favour of arch-rivals Labour or the UK Independence Party (<span class="caps">UKIP</span>) and to break the deadlock evidenced in opinion polls, Cameron is re-branding the Conservatives as ‘the party of the working people.’</p> <p>“We offer a good life for those willing to try, because we’re the party of the working people,” he told supporters at the manifesto launch.</p> <p><strong>A return to Thatcher’s policies?</strong><br /> Interestingly, he’s going after the working class vote by using policies employed by the late Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative Party leader and Britain’s first female prime minister. She may have been a controversial figure, but policies Cameron promises to adopt, such as extending the <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/extending-right-to-buy-is-camerons-big-bazooka-but-will-it-work/">right to buy scheme</a> and <a href="http://press.conservatives.com/post/116374071635/david-cameron-speech-conservative-party-manifesto">turning the economy around</a> so Great Britain doesn’t have to be “a steadily declining, once-great nation,” helped the Iron Lady win three elections.</p> <p><strong>EU Membership</strong><br /> Cameron has, like <span class="caps">UKIP</span>, promised to hold a referendum on continued EU membership. However, unlike Nigel Farage’s party, he says he is keen for Britain to remain within the EU. An in/out referendum on membership would be held by the end of 2017, if the Conservatives win the May election.</p> <h3>How does Cameron want to be seen?</h3> <p><strong>The National Health Service</strong><br /> Outside of his manifesto, Cameron is anxious to show support for the British healthcare system. </p> <p>The <span class="caps">NHS</span> may be the cornerstone of the opposition’s campaign but for years David Cameron has also spoken passionately of its value. On several occasions he has referenced the care for his son, Ivan, received until his untimely death at the age of six.</p> <p>His <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/32094681">most-recent promise concerning the Service</a> is for a ‘truly seven-day’ <span class="caps">NHS</span>, if his Conservative Party is returned to power in May.</p> <p><strong>Competence vs Chaos</strong><br /> One of the key catchphrases of Cameron’s 2015 election campaign has been choosing ‘competence’ (as he sees the Conservatives) over ‘chaos’ (the opposing parties).</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" align="center"><p>With 100 days to go to the election - I'll be on <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCr4today">@BBCr4today</a> at 810am, explaining why the choice is between competence and chaos.</p>— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) <a href="https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/559983615321587712">January 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <h3>A fan of popular culture, a man of the people</h3> <p>Ever-keen to prove he is at one with the British public, David Cameron has on several occasions made references to popular culture.</p> <p><strong>Game of Thrones</strong><br /> He is, apparently, a huge fan of the <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/emilyashton/david-camerons-favourite-game-of-thrones-character-is-ned-st?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#4ldqpgp">cult series Game of Thrones</a> and, despite an initial reticence, is now <a href="https://twitter.com/David_Cameron">an active tweeter</a>.</p> <p><strong>Too many tweets…</strong><br /> But his desire to impress has also landed him in some sticky situations. For example, in 2009, before joining Twitter, Cameron gave <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3Mrfut-FSw">that famous interview</a> to Absolute Radio.</p> <p><div align="center"><b><small>Warning: contains language some may find offensive.</small></b><iframe width="600" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d3Mrfut-FSw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div></p> <p>He later apologised for swearing, although watchdog Ofcom went on to rule <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/6239573/David-Camerons-Twitter-radio-swearing-not-against-rules-says-Ofcom.html">he did not breach regulations</a>.</p> <p>Then there was the episode, ahead of the Scottish referendum on independence, when Cameron didn’t quite swear… Or did he? The <a href="http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/this-effing-referendum-is-far-from-over-yet-i-swear.25277397">Herald Scotland summed up the situation</a>:</p> <p>“A rather abstruse semantic debate ensued over whether “effing” is the same as the f-word. One Tory aide was anxious to point out that “‘effing’ isn’t a swear word, though I think most people got his drift. I supposed the Prime Minister was trying to sound sincere, using the language of the street.”</p> <p>And more recently, the <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/emilyashton/david-camerons-favourite-game-of-thrones-character-is-ned-st?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#4ldqpgp">Game of Thrones incident</a> (Warning: if you haven’t finished season one, don’t watch the video).</p> <p><div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="true" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=378529775682377"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=378529775682377"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=378529775682377"></a><p>WATCH: David Cameron admits his favourite Game of Thrones character is Ned Stark http://bzfd.it/1MGuY5C</p>Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=378529775682377">BuzzFeed Brews</a> on Monday, 16 March 2015</blockquote></div></div></p> <p><strong>Keeping up with the Camerons</strong><br /> In March 2015, Cameron made what was perhaps the most unusual claim to date about his personal life. He told <a href="http://www.heatworld.com/2015/03/david-cameron-is-related-to-the-kardashians-and-wouldn-t-rule-out-a-family-reunion">a magazine interviewer</a> he was related to Kim Kardashian-West, of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ fame. The PM is, he says, thirteenth cousin to the celebrity. Kardashian-West, who is married to rapper Kanye West, is perhaps most famous for starring in a leaked sex tape.</p> <p><strong>A serious figure, taking a stand</strong><br /> Throughout his five-year term, David Cameron seems to have been keen to show he is a well-respected figure of authority. For example, in October 2014, his reaction to the UK being landed with a <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f0c167e8-5e04-11e4-bc04-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3YLZmeZQl">surprise 1.7-billion-pound EU budget bill</a> was to take a firm stand, instantly:</p> <p>He labelled the EU’s bombshell demand “an appalling way to behave,” saying it “certainly didn’t help make a strong case for Britain to remain in the EU.”</p> <p>“I am not paying that bill on the 1st of December,” he told a press conference in Brussels, adding “If people think I am, then they have another thing coming.” </p> <p><div align="center"><iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/politics/video/2014/oct/24/david-cameron-not-going-to-write-cheque-two-billion-euros-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div></p> <p>However, his desire to appear authoritative has, on occasion, backfired. In March 2014, his tweeted selfie taking a phone call with US President, Barack Obama, perhaps didn’t <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/david-cameron-posted-a-picture-of-himself-on-the-phone-and-t#.wkMqA4lDW">produce the reaction</a> he may have been expecting.</p> <p>Which leads to…</p> <h3>Cameron online</h3> <p>He, apparently, ignored his own advice and joined Twitter in January 2010. But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Conservative leader. His account has been involved in a number of delicate situations.</p> <p>For example, his account once <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25015034">auto-followed a high-class escort agency</a> and he hadn’t quite got the hang of verified accounts when he <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/1115871/david-cameron-backs-spoof-ids-twitter-account">included a spoof Ian Duncan Smith account</a> to back up a point about a benefits cap.</p> <p>But, the road has not always been rocky. Perhaps aptly, given his penchant for popular culture, Cameron’s most-popular tweet to-date is a picture of him with boy band One Direction following a 2013 cameo for <a href="http://www.comicrelief.com/news/one-direction-raises-over-%C2%A32-million-red-nose-day-2013">Comic Relief</a>.</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" align="center"><p>Enjoyed my cameo in <a href="https://twitter.com/onedirection">@onedirection</a>’s vid for <a href="https://twitter.com/comicrelief">@comicrelief</a> charity single.Glad to help with the filming location!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/1DRND?src=hash">#1DRND</a> <a href="http://t.co/GnMAVnvF">pic.twitter.com/GnMAVnvF</a></p>— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) <a href="https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/303156621176098816">February 17, 2013</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <h3>Opposition</h3> <p>The centre-left Labour opposition party often claims Cameron’s privileged background means he’s <strong>out of touch</strong> with much of the British public. His own, <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/06/david-cameron-doesnt-know-how-to-eat-a-hot-dog-5137713/">special style of hotdog-eating</a> may, for some, add some weight to their charge. </p> <p>However, in <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/26/david-cameron-ed-miliband-jeremy-paxman-tv-leaders-programme-election">March 2015 leaders’ interviews</a> with Jeremy Paxman (in which Cameron came out marginally ahead), Labour leader Ed Miliband praised Cameron’s courage in welcoming the legalisation of gay marriage, despite adverse views within his party.</p> <p><strong>Lack of credibility</strong><br /> In the same interview, however, Paxman criticised a “lack of credibility” where Cameron’s promises concerning <span class="caps">VAT</span> are concerned. Cameron had pledged not to raise <span class="caps">VAT</span>, until he raised it.</p> <p><strong>Zero-hours contracts</strong><br /> These have plagued Cameron for some time. He eventually conceded he, in fact, could not work on <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-23573442">a zero-hours contract</a>.</p> <p><div align="center"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i9ae_dAi7tw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div></p> <p><strong>Soundbites from the election campaign</strong><br /> Most polls suggest Cameron is putting up a clear and strong fight in the 2015 campaign. However, he’s also let slip some less-than-clear messages, such as these, for example:</p> <p>“This buccaneering, world-beating, can-do country, we can do it all over again.”- Manifesto launch, April 2015.</p> <p>“(Shadow Chancellor) Ed Balls saying this is some kind of joke is, I think, frankly, one of the most appalling things I have heard in this election campaign so far.” – denouncing Ed Balls’ ‘jokey note’ about there being <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ed-miliband/11541290/Ed-Balls-Labour-note-saying-money-had-run-out-was-a-joke.html">no money left</a>, April 2015.</p> <p><strong>Lack of support among <span class="caps">BME</span> voters</strong><br /> On a more serious note, in the last election the Conservatives only won 16 percent of black and minority ethnic (<span class="caps">BME</span>) votes and, although Labour seems to have lost some of its hold over the demographic, Cameron still has some ground to gain.</p> <p><strong>Be careful what you say…</strong><br /> One vocal critic of many of the UK’s leading politicians has been Cassetteboy. The YouTube sensation is famous for cutting and pasting together different segments of politicians’ speeches to make parody videos. His editing skills end in MPs appearing to contradict their own policies. Hilarious viewing for many who’ve notched up 5.1 million views of the video.</p> <p>Let the beat drop…</p> <p><div align="center"><b><small>Warning: contains language some may find offensive.</small></b><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0YBumQHPAeU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div> </p> <div style="width:606px; margin-bottom:8px;"> <div style="background-color:#CCCCCC; font-size:12px; padding:8px;border-radius:8px; border: 1px solid;"> <h3><strong>David Cameron</strong></h3> <ul style="list-style-type:square"> <li>Name: David William Donald Cameron.</li> <li>Born: October 9, 1966, in London.</li> <li>Educated: Heatherdown School, Eton College, University of Oxford.</li> <li>Job: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, May 11, 2010 – present day. <p>Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition, December 6, 2005 – May 11,2010.</li></p> <li>Wife: Samantha Cameron.</li> <li>Children: Ivan (deceased), Nancy, Arthur, Florence.</li> <li>Political career: First stood for parliament for the centre-right Conservative Party in Stafford, Staffordshire, in 1997. Ran on a platform of Euroscepticism, opposing joining the single currency. Defeated, but in 2001 was elected to parliament in the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. Promoted to the front bench two years later, he rose through the ranks to become head of policy coordination for the party’s 2005 general election campaign.</li> <li>Leadership of the Conservative Party followed in December, then he became prime minister of the United Kingdom following the May 2010 elections, forming (with the Liberal Democrats) Britain’s first coalition government since 1945.</li> <li>If he wins the election: Cameron says he will not run for a third term as prime minister, if he goes on to win the May 2015 general election. Instead, he has suggested Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, current Mayor of London Boris Johnson or Home Secretary Theresa May as good candidates for the top job.</li> <li>Best memory: The birth of his youngest child, Florence, according to a recent <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11501248/David-Cameron-My-plan-to-win-back-disgruntled-Tories.html" target="_blank">interview with The Telegraph</a>.</li> </ul> </div> </div>