DAVID Cameron claims to be an Aston Villa supporter, but in terms of building his election team he seems to have got more inspiration from the Real Madrid side of the early part of this century, when it put together the Galacticos.
Instead of Ronaldo and Zidane, Cameron has the Australian Lynton Crosby and now, hot from the winning Obama team, Jim Messina.
The point of the Galacticos was to put together a team of the greatest footballing talents of a generation, or at least the most famous names, and Cameron seems to think that a similar approach is needed to win in 2015.
It seems to be working. Labour’s lead of 15 points is now a far more nervous 5 per cent and shrinking. And it is beginning to make senior figures in Labour edgy, especially as questions over Ed Miliband’s leadership abilities have begun to re-emerge.
There are no big hitters in team Miliband, just some good home-grown talent, but none of the star quality that seems to be turning the tide for Cameron. But worse, the appointment of Messina, a leading Democrat, is seen as a betrayal of Labour by the party that is meant to be their ally in the USA.
Some Labour activists have even organised a mass signature letter to protest to Obama.
It is likely that the US President has given the nod to the appointment because Cameron gave him a presidential election endorsing visit in 2012. But it is also worth remembering that US politics is economically more rightwing than UK politics, and the message that Labour is being run by the unions could be playing over in America too. If there is one word which goes down badly in Washington, it is “socialism”.
But the Messina appointment also underlines the gulf between Cameron and much of his own Republican supporting party.
There is no doubt that Cameron’s centrist, pro-gay marriage, generally more liberal politics appeals to Obama as much as it is hated by the majority of his backbenchers and party members, many of whom were involved in Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012.
And the arrival of Messina, even though his campaigning credentials are pretty much second to none, have not been entirely welcomed by many in the Tory party who see it as a signal of more liberal politics to come – risking a haemorrhage of support to UKIP.
The continued dissatisfaction in the Tory ranks may provide some comfort for Labour, but the history of the Galacticos and their failure to be the dominant force in football they were intended to be could also provide some hope.
As Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez discovered, the problem with bringing together big personalities is that they all want to be number one and rule the roost.
We have yet to see if Crosby and Messina can work together effectively – and whether one will be willing to defer to the other.