Can we now expect fierce full-frontal attacks?
What could be the most significant UK political development of the weekend was the news that Brown’s PR guru, Stephen Carter, has been “moved on”.
This, according to James Forsyth of the Spectator Coffee House blog, could herald a major shift in Number 10s approach because Carter was a keen advocate of a more softly softly approach, particularly to David Cameron.
He writes:”In recent weeks, Carter has been advocating not trying to tear David Miliband down, he played a key role in the brokering of the Peace of Minorca, and trying to separate David Cameron from his party, Carter argues that the public believe Cameron to be a decent guy and a moderate so attempting to demonise him wonâ€™t work and that the best strategy therefore is to say to voters OK Cameron is alright but what about the rest of them. Carterâ€™s slide down the Downing Street pecking order suggests that he has lost both these arguments and that we will soon see full-on personal attacks launched on both Miliband and Cameron.”
Carter, of course, is absolutely right. You cannot go into full-frontal attack mode unless what you are saying chimes with public opinion. It might please insiders but it could make things much worse with the general public – just look at the mess Labour got themselves into in the Crewe & Nantwich by election campaign.
One of the major issues for Labour and Brown is that they cannot come to terms with all the evidence that suggests that the Tory leader is popular.
They are making exactly the same mistake as John Major’s Tories did in the 1995-1997 period over Blair. Demonisation of someone who the public like is dumb. Far better to warn of the hard-line Tories behind him which is where I think Cameron is vulnerable.