Under-siege Cameron sets date for Paxman grilling
The Mole: But is it enough? Should Dave be getting out the John Major soapbox?
A sure sign that David Cameron desperately needs the oxygen of publicity is today’s confirmation that, after initially dithering, he's finally taken up an invitation to be grilled by BBC Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman.
Caught on the hop by Nick Clegg's Lib Dem surge – which, as I reported earlier today, is looking increasingly serious - both Cameron and Gordon Brown have now agreed to interviews having initially refused to be put through the Paxo mill.
The dates were confirmed this morning by the BBC. Paxman v Cameron will be broadcast this Friday, April 23, on BBC1 at 8.30pm. Paxman v Brown will follow in the same slot on Friday, April 30 – six days before Britain goes to the polls.
Cameron's election campaign was hit by Wobbly Monday yesterday when he junked his planned party election broadcast in favour of a personal message. Now he is having to rethink his entire campaign strategy with sniping going on from his own party. Tory campaigners are complaining his 'Big Society/Small Government' message is going down like the proverbial lead balloon on the doorsteps.
The Tory leader is staring at defeat, even though he is leading most of the polls, or at least running neck-and-neck with Clegg. This is because the Lib Dem surge is likely to split the non-Labour vote and result in Brown’s party winning more seats than the Tories.
There's only one snag for Clegg. He was the only party leader to agree in the first place to an interview with Paxman and he sailed through it. But it was screened on Monday, April 12 – four nights before the first leaders' debate made him an overnight star. Only 2.21 million viewers saw the programme, far fewer than are likely to tune in for Cameron and Brown getting a grilling from Paxman
Will the BBC show Paxman v Clegg again? Is there anything to stop them repeating it? We should be told.
As for Cameron's predicament, the Mole has a suggestion. When John Major was falling behind in the polls in 1992, he got out a soap box and harangued audiences from it. It had such a stimulating effect on one of the most boring speakers in Britain that it led to a resurgence in his ratings, and he went on to win the general election.
Come on Dave, get on the Major soapbox! ·
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