Analysis: What David can learn from us

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 25, 2009

Here’s why most politicians accept speaking invitations: they are asked by someone they know and they don’t think quickly enough of a reason why not.

But when you are Leader of the Opposition, accepting a speaking invitation is a big deal. Not just for you; there is also your speech writing team, your press office and your physical advance team who check that you are not about to walk past a shop sign saying F Raud and Sons, and aren’t sharing a platform with someone who gives money to the BNP.

So it’s a bit more scientific. But only a bit. The main reason why David Cameron will have accepted his invitations is that the people who asked him weren’t people he and his team felt they could reasonably say no to. In the case of big Jewish events, that often means people who have done a lot of work for the Party raising funds.

But there will be other reasons. These big Jewish charity bashes are top events with a huge audience of powerful people conveniently gathered in central London.

And they are good platforms. Cameron is interested in building a strong society without the state and he’s interested in strong communities that integrate into the whole without losing their identity. The Jewish community is a model he can refer to and people he can listen to.

He will learn from these meetings as much as he will contribute to them.

Daniel Finkelstein was adviser to the Leader of the Opposition 1997-2001

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010