Why couldn’t the Brownites cash in on the Tory tax plan cock-up?
On Sunday when I was planning the week ahead on the site I was convinced that the following days might see the moment when the Cameron band-wagon would drive to a halt.
For judging by the weekend press reports Gordon Brown’s team had been absolutely cock a hoot over the way they had derailed last week’s Tory tax commission announcement and had got David Cameron and George Osborne onto the back foot even before the official publication.
For as a result of somebody posting the report a day early on the Conservative web-site the Brownites were able to do what they are brilliant at – framing the argument between the parties as between “Labour’s investment” and “Tory cuts“. This is the line that’s worked well for them at previous General Elections and it appeared that the detail in the Tory Tax commission report provided 176 pages of red meat for the Chancellor’s attack dogs to get their teeth into.
Labour’s Tory tax/spending cuts rhetoric might still have legs – but there has been no sign in the polls since then that it is resonating with the public. In fact it is has been the other way round.
We have still got YouGov to come in this week of extraordinary polls and it could come out with anything. But even the most optimistic Brownite will not be predicting a repeat of September’s level-pegging position for the party when it was the Tories and Labour on 36% with the Lib Dems down at 16%.
The whole change in the mood about Iraq and the possibility that the UK might be withdrawing with the mission not accomplished is going to dominate the domestic agenda. Gordon Brown must be hoping that he can do a Harold Macmillan – the Tory leader who took over after the Suez debacle fifty years ago and went on to victory in 1959.