Mr Cameron has enjoyed victories as a parliamentary debater, notably when he said of Tony Blair that "he was the future once". But the Prime Minister has failed to build a deeper relationship with the British people by giving substantial speeches in which he seems to take us directly into his confidence. There is something impervious about his good manners. The speeches in which he attempted to explain the Big Society were a flop, and he has found nothing else to fill the gap, or nothing that rises above the blandness of Radio 4's Thought for the Day.
Not that it would be fair to blame Mr Cameron for giving mediocre speeches when almost everyone else is worse. Among his rivals, only Boris Johnson has the merit of knowing how to delight and connect with the public: an ability that might one day give him a decisive advantage. Here, by contrast, is the end of a speech delivered by Ed Miliband at the Stock Exchange on September 6, 2012:
A responsible capitalism is a resilient capitalism.
I recognise that this agenda is about long-term change in the economy and it will take time.
But I believe the British people know in their heart of hearts that our economy needs big change.
Not business as usual, let alone politics as usual.
They recognise the scale of the challenge. And they demand that we rise to it.
We're not going to wait for this Government to fail.
That's why I say the new agenda is so important.
It is essential, if we are to pay our way in the world, pay down the deficit, and build an economy that works for working people.
The task for my party, and for you, is to develop this new thinking that will allow us to build the new economy.
That is the shared challenge we face today.
I look forward to working with you on it in the months and years ahead.
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