God bless C-SPAN. Last night, its still-soft lens (no one wants to see Congress in HD) beamed BBC’s political coverage into the homes of junkies everywhere. ’Twas fascinating to watch the burble — Jeremy Paxman banter, David Davis grumbles, reports of disenfranchised voters, BBC admitting its filler shot of Clegg in a car was “highly unrevealing.” Perhaps the most memorable moment came when David Cameron, deep into the British night/early morning, appeared at his constituency in Witney, in Oxfordshire, to hear the local election results. There he stood, on stage with a motley crew of candidates: a “comedy terrorist,” the Monster Raving Loony party, and a pudgy, scowling Labor man, among others. It was a humbling, wonderfully democratic sight.
Witney is under an hour from Peasemore, Cameron’s childhood home. A decade ago, in April 2000, Cameron came to Witney to be considered as a Tory candidate for Parliament. At the selection meeting, he impressed, speaking without notes. Five years later, he’d do the same in Blackpool, just before becoming leader, swooning the Tory masses:
We can lead that new generation. We can be that new generation, changing our party to change our country. It will be an incredible journey. I want you to come with me.
We’ll be tested – and challenged. But we’ll never give up. We’ll never turn back. So let the message go out from this conference: a modern, compassionate conservatism is right for our times, right for our party and right for our country.
If we go for it, if we seize it, if we fight for it with every ounce of passion, vigour and energy from now until the next election, nothing, and no one, can stop us.
Similar themes were heard last night in Witney: