Can Michael Howard take on the Archbishop and the Police?

Can Michael Howard take on the Archbishop and the Police?

    Are their dangers in the “politics of fear”?

Has there ever been an election where Conservative campaign tactics have come under simultaneous attack in from what in previous times would have been regarded as two great pillars of conservatism in society – the head of the Church of England and the body representing the country’s Chief Constables?

Yesterday’s attack by senior police chiefs over a Conservative campaign advertisement on crime for its “misleading statistics”, and the Archbishop of Canterbury warning about against populist campaign language takes the Tory party, surely, into new territory.

Is there not a big danger that the party could alienate many traditional supporters as it seeks to put forward distinctive messages because so much of its natural territory has been occupied by New Labour?

And isn’t the “politics of fear” approach from the Tories exactly what Labour strategists want as they try to find a means of enthusing their activists who are still bruised after Iraq and other policy developments?

    Quite simply is the Tory approach to this election going to work? It is a huge gamble that Michael Howard has made and the outcome is far from clear.

With a May 5th General Election expected to be announced on Monday let’s hope there are some new polls this weekend so we can assess of the campaigns are going and whether, indeed, the Tories have in fact been hurt by the dismissal of Howard Flight.

In the absence of polls gamblers have been very reluctant to back any view this week and the only change has been a very minor reduction in the Tory seats on the spread markets.

LATEST BETTING Predicted number of Commons seats won at the Election – the total for an overall majority is 324.
IG IndexLAB 351-356 (nc): CON 198-203 (-1): LD 66-69 (nc): SNP 5.5-6: PC 4.5-5: RES 0.5-1: UKIP 0-0.5: DUP 7.5-8: SF 4.3-4.8: UUP 3 – 3.5: SDLP 1.8 -2.3

SpreadfairLAB 352 -354.5: CON 198-204: LD 66 -68 .

Round-up of prices from conventional bookmakers.

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