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On the campaign trail with Cameron

The Berocca vitamin tablets and boxes of Nurofen suggest a team under stress.

There is certainly cause for the crew on Cameron’s battlebus to feel the need for something to perk them up or dull the pain.

Yet up close and personal the Tory leader is fizzing with energy. The News of the World joined Cam for a day on the campaign trail on Tuesday..

It was actually a pretty tricky day for Cameron. He had to deal with a dad furious over special needs education and dispense summary justice from the battlebus to an off-message Tory candidate who said homosexuality was not normal.

But Cameron was not deflected. He is astonishingly calm while those around him panic about the giant yellow spanner Nick Clegg has thrown into the Tory works.

This was not the David Cameron of the TV leadership debates – stiff and visibly pressured.

Cameron was at his best as he buzzed on a whirlwind walkabout around Bury market. Tieless and with his shirtsleeves rolled up in his down-to-business style, his famous baby-face was ruddy and unlined without the need of an airbrush.

Cam does this superbly. His is palpably a people person in contrast to the awkward, socially awkward Gordon Brown.

He chatted easily with voters young and old. And he seems to relish encounters with tricky voters. Not for him the “safe house to safe house” Brown campaign strategy of just meeting party loyalists.

He is totally at ease as he chats to youths at the Bolton Lads and Girls Club. The only time he looks under pressure is when he is facing match point in a table tennis match with a youngster.

And the voters lap it up. Yes he is posh, no he is not one of them. But there is a compelling ease to him.

The pressure is on Cameron as never before. After years of assuming power was theirs, the Tories are now facing what one famous local football manager would call “squeaky bum time”.

Next week Cam could be Prime Minister of a majority Tory government. He could be horse-trading with Clegg. Or he could be the man who had it all in his grasp, only to let it slip.

That is enough to give even the most experienced politician cold sweats.



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