Will this create instability amongst the the Tories?
Developments in the McCann story and the Indy’s idiosyncratic approach to tabloid journalism have kept Brown’s speech off many of the front pages this morning and I reproduce above those that I can find online that are making the event their main lead.
By far and away the most significant is the Sun which is continuing with its high profile campaign to get a referendum on the EU treaty. This is the second day in a row the top-selling paper has gone for Brown on the issue and this does not bode well for Labour should an October election be on the cards. The paper has created the slogan –“AN EU REFERENDUM. HE PROMISED IT. WE WANT IT”.
The main themes of what used to be the most traditional of Tory papers, the Times and Telegraph, focus on Brown appeal to Conservatives – no doubt doubt to try to create further problems for Cameron at his conference next week.
If Brown’s aim is to get the Tories off the centre ground then some of the coverage will help him.
But this is not without its own problems. Polly Toynbee, in the Guardian describes the frustrations of those within the Labour movement who are looking for something different from the new leader – “So how much change will the Brown era bring? Nothing in this speech signalled significant policy shift, only a change in emphasis. It was almost vegetarian in its lack of new beef, with not one bold stride into bullish new territory.”
The leader writer in the Times sums the speech up like this – “..All of which adds to the paradox of him as the Prime Minister. Three months into his tenure, the nation has more information about his agenda and life story but not much more about his mission. We appreciate that he is â€œseriousâ€ and that in serious times this is a virtue, but what exactly he is serious about remains ambiguous. The date of the next election (or its likely outcome) is not the real mystery of his conference. It is instead what a fourth Labour victory at the hustings would ultimately mean for the country.”
In the betting things have hardly moved. The latest Betfair price on a 2007 general election is 2.3-1
And so a new political day begins….