Friday, April 20, 2007

Cameron Comes To Town
The worst-kept secret in Torbays history is finally out in the open, David Cameron was in town today.

A visit like today has to be carefully planned – choreographed almost moment by moment; but because of the demands of his job as leader of the opposition Camerons schedule has to be kept flexible until the last point possible. The risk of causing disappointment therefore means that generally the arrangements are kept 'unconfirmed' until the preceding 24 hours; much to the frustration of many local media and politicians desperate for confirmation we couldn't give.

Anyway I met him at Occombe Farm at 09.30 as planned this morning complete with an entourage of press cameramen, reporters and photographers. The handful of farm shop customers were then treated to the sight of the leader of the opposition doing a bit of real food shopping surrounded by the constant hubbub of flashbulbs, shouting camera crews and anxious press agents.

After an amusing tour of the livestock (as one wag pointed out the pigs seemed more at home with the press pack than the politicians...) and a briefing on the solar panel and fresh water recovery systems that the farm relies on it was in the car and off to the Herald Express offices for a cup of coffee with the editor and to meet staff in the newsroom.

Then it was up to Babbacombe and a quick whizz down the cliff railway. As we descended the TV people were keen to film David with the rising car passing us in the background. I suddenly had this terrifying image of the carriage rising into view stuffed with Lib Dems making faces at the window and waving yellow banners as they drifted past....

Then it was an endless round photo's on the beach with our council candidates and a gee-up speech and a promise to return the day after the elections if we win from Mr Cameron; then a chat with Mayor Nick Bye, then more photo's on the way up to make a pre-recorded interview with Channel 4's “The Politics Show”.

After that, in the car and off to Teignbridge; phew!

Local MP's get a good deal of press coverage, but unless there is an election 'opposing' candidates like me do not. A visit like this is an opportunity to try and level the playing field for just one day and it is very, very welcome.

The effort made by everyone, not least David Cameron personally, is considerable. The fact that he spent so long here I think is testament to how seriously we view the need to win this seat back.

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