Who’ll come out of this row best?

Who’ll come out of this row best?

indy school funds.JPG

    Will a U-turn help Gord or not?

An issue on which the Lib Dems have been making the running, the plan to take away 5% of school budget surpluses, was used by David Cameron at PMQs yesterday for his first line of attack against Gordon Brown.

The Tory leader said that it was “unjust, an ill-conceived idea” which undermines governors’ authority.

This morning the Independent carries a report, part of which is reproduced above, that the Prime Minister is planning to scrap the plan – thus closing it down as a political issue. Such a move is a central part of the Brown strategy for dealing with the Tories – if Cameron comes up with something that appears to be resonating with the public then you either adopt or, in this case, reverse the decision.

The aim all the time is to take out the areas where Labour can come under attack.

    The danger is that this could look as though Cameron has won a victory and that Labour looks weak – the last thing that Brown wants.

This has echoes of the inheritance tax plan when the Government was accused of policy theft when the Chancellor announced his proposals just a week after George Osborne for Tories made this the centre piece of his conference speech.

This is all a bit unfair on the Lib Dems which has been the main opponent of the claw-back plan.

On the polling front my understanding is that the fieldwork for two major surveys – ICM for the Guardian and ComRes for the Independent – will start tomorrow for publication early next week. It has been nearly a fortnight since the past poll.

My betting I have made no changes for nearly a fortnight in my current spread position – a sell on Labour commons seats of £50 a seat at the 300.4 level. The big thing that will drive this level is the next polling round. If Labour loses more to the Lib Dems than the Tories then the election seat predictors will show a gain for Cameron’s party which will affect the spread levels. I’m not convinced that this will happen so my bet stays where it is.

As I’ve discussed before I am not in this market for the long-term – I’m looking for short-term profits that I can pocket now.

Mike Smithson

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