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Cameron is right to focus on Day One in Downing Street

Nick Wood square Nick Wood's daily High Noon column

Neil Kinnock's hubristic cry of "We're all right!" as he posed as a political rock star before 10,000 swooning supporters at the Sheffield rally has gone down in folklore as the moment Labour lost the 1992 election.

Is David Cameron risking a repeat of that miscalculation with his forecast on the Andrew Marr Show of the steps he would take on his first day in Downing Street after the winning the election?

Early editions of today's Times (later toned down) suggested Cameron faced a "backlash" over his alleged presumptousness. One unnamed Labour aide is quoted as saying he was over-reaching himself in his quest for the crown.

But parallels between Cameron's interview and Kinnock's braggadocio are wide of the mark. Cameron, in far more measured language than the former Labour leader, is rightly trying to focus the electorate's mind on the practical and immediate steps he would take to get the country back on track.

An early casualty of a Cameron premiership would be the long summer holidays enjoyed by MPs - a pledge calculated to tap into the anti-politician mood sweeping the land. But there would also be less symbolic early measures as Prime Minister Cameron rolled up his sleeves and brought forward a Queen's Speech scrapping some of the more intrusive aspects of Labour era, such as ID cards.

And, of course, a new Conservative administration would immediately start to get to grips with controlling runaway public spending.

Cameron was right again to highlight the "muddle and fudge" of a hung Parliament, still the most likely outcome of this three-way fight for power.

The challenge remains over the final few days to bring home to people both the seriousness and urgency of the financial crisis facing the nation and the near impossibility of finding solutions in the fog of a messy electoral draw.

Coupled with that must be the communication of simple, practical reasons for supporting the Conservatives. After a campaign in which the Leaders' Debates have elevated style over substance, clear policy commitments must make a belated comeback.

Nick Wood, Managing Director, Media Intelligence Partners


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