So first, Mr Cameron, ditch the Lycra shorts and the cycling nonsense. Put the tie and jacket back on. Since image is supposed to be your thing it shouldn't be too difficult to start at least looking like a Prime Minister. Tell the munchkins who run your operations not to plan any more stunts. No more St George's flag on the back of the bike when England are playing in the World cup. No more daft painting and decorating exercises at the party conference when you got the pretty male MPs to appear paint-splattered in jeans and T-shirts doing up the local youth club. No more hugging hoodies. No more hugging huskies - at least not while Parliament is sitting and when your own constituency is under water. And if you really want to save Africa start with Zimbabwe. Somehow Mr Cameron always ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time while Mr Brown has the nous to know when not to desert the command post.
And now for George Walden...
The term "political game" is ceasing to be a metaphor. Playing at politics has never been a more attractive pastime. Just how hungry for real responsibility are the people in Mr Cameron's circle? Think of it, all those ghastly red boxes. Frightfully earnest. Opposition, on the other hand, is a bit of a wheeze. Conservatives will not welcome the whiff of defeat in the air. They want to retain their seats, and Mr Cameron has no difficulty imagining himself in Number 10. But that is not the same thing as a political party hungry for the power to run, and change, a country.
Walden rightly asks the question if the Conservatives are hungry enough for power, but he overplays his hand. He never experienced opposition when he was an MP, although he certainly played his part in ensuring that's where the Conservatives were headed. If he really thinks opposition is a "wheeze" he is delusional. Show me a Tory politician who prefers opposition to government and I'll happily stab myself in the eye with a compass. Whether they know how to get into a government is another thing. I hesitate to mention Alastair Campbell's Diaries again, but if you read them you'll see how hungry for power Labour were. So Walden is right to raise the problem, but unlike Lord Young, fails to come up with the solution.
Michael Brown's column is a bit of a rant. I am a great fan of his writing, and he deserves a wider audience than The Independent, but I think he also overplays his hand. What he is advocating is a policy of 'back to the future'. His most interesting point lies not in his advice to David Cameron, but his analysis of Gordon Brown...
Mr Brown was born in the same year as me, and while my hand simply will not go anywhere except in the Tory box on the ballot paper, I nevertheless find myself seduced by the mere appearance of Gordon Brown. I will resist his blandishments
- although it is becoming a hard fight - but others like me may not. He reinforces all this by reviewing the classification of cannabis and 24-hour drinking and by abandoning supercasinos. Mr Cameron may pose as the social liberal but it is the middle-aged, socially conservative Puritan, Mr Brown, who captures the sombre mood of today's middle class and middle aged.
Now if a hackneyed old right winger like Michael Brown can be seduced by Mr D'Arcy, one wonders how many other Tories are looking at Mr Brown in a new light at the moment. And there lies the challenge for David Cameron to meet when he returns from his holidays.