Friday, February 24, 2006
Has George Pascoe-Watson Got it in for Cameron?
It's interesting to see the tug of war that appears to be developing at The Sun between new political editor George Pascoe-Watson and his immediate predecessor Trevor Kavanagh. Kavanagh is a Thatcherite Tory and would like nothing better than to get The Sun supporting the Tories again, yet GPW appears to be doing all he can to trash Cameron and boost Gordon Brown. It was also noticeable that Kavanagh did the piece 'outing' Simon Hughes, which you would have thought would have been done by the political editor. Today's write-up of the MORI poll is a good example where GPW has gone slightly OTT - and this on top of the hard time he gave the Tories over the Dunfermline by-election leaflet and the next day's PMQs. This contrasted with a very positive piece for Brown about the public finances with a boost in revenue from taxes filling his "22 million black hole". Tory sources are openly speculating that GPW has been 'got at' by the Brownies and isn't giving their man a fair crack. It has to be said that the Cameroonian style was never going to be immediately attractive to The Sun, as they revel in confrontation and he doesn't. But the Tory spin doctors shouldn't be panicked by this. Their task is to play the long game with The Sun, ignore any barbed comments and mount a two year long charm offensive. The Sun was never going to cut and run from New Labour very quickly. Until it sees the substance behind the smile it won't move. But let's not kid ourselves, The Sun's support will be a crucial part of performing well at the next election. But it only backs the winner. If it sees Cameron as the winner, it will back him. If it doesn't, it won't. That's why the Cameroons need to play a long game.