A very good week for the Conservatives
It's a little early to say that the Tories are completely back on track but it's been a very good week for the Conservatives.
Headlining this morning's Today programme is the news that 23 very senior businessleaders have backed the Conservatives' policy on National Insurance Contributions. The letter, signed by the chiefs of M&S, JCB and Sainsbury's, appears in this morning's Telegraph;
"The Government’s proposal to increase national insurance, placing an additional tax on jobs, comes at exactly the wrong time in the economic cycle. In a personal capacity, we welcome George Osborne’s plan to stop the proposed increase in national insurance by cutting Government waste. In the last two years, businesses across the country have cut their costs without undermining the service they provide to their customers. It is time for the Government to do the same."
George Osborne has showed he has better judgment than Darling or Cable. Labour and the Liberal Democrats were determined to damage the Shadow Chancellor in Monday night's debate. They failed. It was a pretty forgettable affair - except for Darling's gaffe on the death tax and Vince Cable's playing to the gallery. Cable's left-wing populism served him well on the night but will hurt his long-term reputation. George Osborne came over as competent and measured.
A confident interview for the FT will further help Tory standing on the economy. It's here.
The feisty, direct nature of the Tory poster attacks on Brown. They were neither flashy nor clever but the new Saatchi ads told the truth about Brown's record. Can a man who has doubled the national debt, overseen the early release of convicted criminals and raided our pensions really deserve re-election?
Cameron's warning to Obama that the UK won't be his poodle. Mr Cameron told The Economist that he was "disappointed" with the Obama administration's unwillingness to back Britain over the future of the Falklands.
Brown's own goal on immigration. The Labour leader was rebuked yesterday by the Statistics Chief for misleading use of migration stats. Chris Grayling detects a pattern:
“Gordon Brown is turning into a serial offender in misleading the British people in the run-up to the election. He gave false information to the Chilcot enquiry, his advertising campaign about policing was banned, and now he has given an inaccurate picture of his record on immigration. Britain should expect better from its Prime Minister. No wonder we need change.”
Labour has fallen below 30% in ConservativeHome's Poll of Polls. Details here.
FOUR ACTION POINTS FOR THE COMING WEEKS
- Over the next few weeks the Conservatives need to stay focused on the two things that will decide this election; the economy and the strength of David Cameron's leadership. Not much else matters.
- David Cameron needs to hammer Labour on immigration in the debates.
- The Conservatives need to bring their policies to life. For example we have the expensive pledge to maintain NHS spending in real terms. What does that mean to the average patient? What does not reducing the deficit mean for mortgage payers?
- Keep focused on a few issues. Keep the message simple for the doorsteps.