Has Brown found a way to turn his ratings round?

Has Brown found a way to turn his ratings round?

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    Will the unfunded pledge charges stick on Cameron?

After seeing his ratings steadily deteriorate against the Tory leader Gordon Brown has now found a new line of attack in the hope of bringing about a change. His Treasury team are claiming that David Cameron has made 40 unfunded spending commitments since becoming leader which would require billions of pounds of extra taxes to fund.

In what sounds like the way that Prime Minister Brown would seek to deal with the new Tory leader Cameron is going to be challenged and pressed on expenditure commitments. If effective this could isolate Cameron from parts of his party and reinforce the doubts on taxation policy.

According the the Independent this morning the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, is quoted as saying: “The Tories are simultaneously promising to cut public spending while making dozens of unaffordable new spending promises. It shows they have learnt nothing from the mistakes of the 1990s, when David Cameron was advising Norman Lamont in the Treasury…”

There is no doubt that Brown needs to do something because 2006 has seen his ratings against Cameron plummet and he needs to show Labour that he can land blows on Tory leader.

The following are from the ICM’ archive and show changing responses to the highly relevant question of “Who would make the best Prime Minister – DC or GB?” . This is how opinion has changed.

ICM February 2006: Brown 45% Cameron 33% – Brown +12%
ICM April 2006: Brown 37% Cameron 32% – Brown +5%
ICM October 2006: Brown 34% Cameron 45% – Brown -11%

So with the same pollster and the same question there has been a 23% turnaround in Brown’s position in the wrong direction.

Even taking into account that the October poll was carried out in the immediate aftermath of the Tory conference and might flatter Cameron the trend is clear – the likely Labour leader’s comparative position is getting progressively worse. Brown’s looking like a loser – not a winner.

Labour’s hopes rest with this all being different when Gordon is in charge. It’s argued that the negative impressions that he sends out are because of the position he finds himself in. Rightly or wrongly Brown thinks he should have been leader in 1994 and clearly that has had an effect on his whole personality.

Brown’s also had to stand by, almost helplessly, as Cameron has been able to gather momentum. He has wanted much tougher attacks against the Tory leader but has not been able to over-rule Tony more softly-softly approach.

    It will be interesting to see if this latest line of attack does damage – for so far Labour have struggled to find a way of dealing with the Tory leader.

In the Labour leadership betting Brown’s price has continued to tighten. As to who will succeed him the money on the next Chancellor has been going on Stephen Timms – the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and, interestingly, the one who is closely involved in this latest attack on Cameron.

Mike Smithson

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