The self-proclaimed “heir to Blair” David Cameron can be credited with dragging the Conservative party into the 21st Century and turning it once again into a viable political force.
The 43-year old challenger for the job of Britain’s prime minister has borrowed from Tony Blair’s bag of tricks to modernise the Tories, often imposing change on a reluctant old guard.
The Conservative party leader has a fluent television manner and an ear for the right kind of sound bite.
A key part of his appeal is his youthful energy and a willingness to engage at grass roots level with members of the public who need to be wooed and cajoled into supporting the Tories who were last in power 13 years ago.
The party’s fortunes have been turned around since Cameron took the helm in 2005.
Educated at Eton and Oxford Cameron has a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Critics have lambasted him for having been a member of the exclusive Bullingdon dining club in his youth.
But he is far from the archetypal image of the old imperious Conservatives having embraced issues such as gay rights and climate change.
He also seems to have left a favourable impression on US President Barack Obama with his sunny optimism.
Cameron has decontaminated the Tories, repositioning them as the champions of the environment and the National Health Service.
Married to Samantha, they have two young children with another baby on the way. Their first child was born profoundly disabled and died last year.
Cameron’s subdued suburban lifestyle sits well with the middle England demographic he is trying so hard to win back.
Under his leadership the Conservatives have already claimed a major political scalp, dispatching the left-wing London mayor Ken Livingstone and replacing him with the popular metropolitan Tory Boris Johnson.
Going into the final furlong of the race Cameron is riding high in the polls.