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The one thing that distinguishes a politician of substance is the capacity to say something meaningful.

Few politicians are capable of this. The Dup’s Jim Wells makes sense most of the time. He can stand up and put a sensible point across fluently and not infrequently a point which is at variance with party policy.

Martin Mc Guinness has come through as a big surprise probably more so to the protestant community and outside the island of Ireland.

He has spoken meangingfully with clarity and forthrightness on many matters in recent years.

This brings me to David Cameron.
David Miliband fired a cheap shot at the PM saying he must not sound like ‘a loud mouth.’

This is rich from Mr Miliband who has yet to say anything memorable or quotable.

Cameron is rapidly shaking off the sobriquet of PR salesman.

He is showing himself to be much more substantial. On Bloody Sunday he silenced the shallowness and idiocy of many unionist voices on what Saville adjudicated to be the killing of innocent people by members of the parachute regiment.

He told it as he read it in India in speaking of the behaviour of the Pakistan government.

The jury is out on his ‘big society’ project.

I would enter one caveat however as far as David Cameron goes.

He is starting to sound a little like Mrs Thatcher. He must guard against inheriting her hectoring tone.

Watching how his political philosophy is given shape in the coming months will be fascinating. He has made an impressive start in an extraordinary era. Will Afghanistan be his achilles heel? He shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Tony Blair’s career was potentially irretrievably damaged because of Iraq.

[This article originally appeared on Slugger O’Toole]

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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