Not that Cameron's speech yesterday was all bad. It contained the following choice statement:
We need to change the way we feel. No more grumbling about modern Britain, I love this country - as it is, not as it was - and I believe our best days lie ahead.
On the surface, nothing all that remarkable. Even rather mundane. But it could herald a change in the way the right in Britain views itself and its country. Cameron is clearly, and sensibly, distancing himself from the likes of right-wing pinup boy Theodore Dalrymple, who not so long ago was telling the world that the modern British character was 'a deeply flawed and unattractive one, as charmless as any that I know, completely unbalanced by any compensating virtues'. Who would want to give their vote to a political movement that described them and their fellow countrymen in such terms? Not me.
If Cameron can position the Tories as a party that doesn't look on Britain as some kind of 'foreign land', but as a real place full of - whisper it softly - basically decent, likeable people, and put knee-jerk right-wing misanthropy to one side, he might, just might, be on the way to putting the Conservatives back in No 10.