With just a week to go before Britain's general Election on June 18, Conservative leader Edward Heath's campaign is moving into high gear.
With just a week to go before Britain's general Election on June 18, Conservative leader Edward Heath's campaign is moving into high gear. Many newsmen travelling with him say he has finally found his pace and style on the campaign trail and that he's much more relaxed in public.
He received a much needed boost on Tuesday (9 June) when the Times newspaper backed him for Prime Minister rather than the ruling Labour Party's Harold Wilson.
But inspite of this support the opinion polls continue to show Labour as favourites.
In 1966 Mr Heath stumped the constituencies but this time everything is staked on television. He emerges refreshed daily from his smart flat near Piccadilly for his televised morning press conference. It's a sober affair with Mr Heath utterly serious in discussing the issues.
He makes his daily forays into the provinces by chartered aircraft with 30 or so newsmen accompanying him. When the campaign first began he kept himself to himself sitting in his own seat at the front of the aircraft. But now he's more relaxed...and chats more freely with journalists.
The set piece of the campaign day is an evening meeting -- a ticket-only affair -- at which he gingers up the party faithful and tries to dispel the gloom of the opinion polls without actually mentioning them.
He's learned to tackle the hecklers with more aplomb than in the early days of the campaign and now seems to enjoy the opposition.
At a recent meeting in Chatham he was shaking hands in the streets, humanizing his image. And he found a ready welcome in the conservative women who came out to see him.