I was taken aback by the sheer ferocity of Jeff Randall's attack on David Cameron in today's Telegraph. 'RANDALL DISPARAGES CAMERA-ON' - 'So anxious is he to prove his lovey-dovey, caring-sharing credentials that he risks doing precisely that which he is telling colleagues they must avoid; boxing in the party on future policy'. And there was more. This is strong stuff from a straight-talking pundit that I enjoy reading - and usually agree with. But this time Randall has got it wrong. He makes a fair point about the need to ensure that business feels more valued by the Conservatives - but he seems to have no understanding of the over-riding need to broaden the base of our popular support.
The Cameron strategy is not about our position in the opinion polls over the short term (at least I hope not) - and everything about changing the perception of our party in the long term. Cameron must challenge the stereotype pin-stripe Tory image. We have to satisfy people that we care as much about the weakest in our society as much as we want to release the energy of the strongest. (Not a bad line for a Cameron speech!).
I fully understand the frustration behind Jeff Randall's tirade and the Party must 'take note' of such a ferocious shot across the bows. But, speaking as someone who did not back David Cameron for the leadership, I believe he is doing a hugely challenging job as well as any of us could have hoped.