Has Brown now lost the “Tory cuts” war?

Has Brown now lost the “Tory cuts” war?

And if he can’t fight on this then what?

For the past three elections Labour core message to get its vote out was that a Tory government would make cuts that would eat into the heart of public services. This worked so brilliantly for so long long that until very recently the new Tory team, Cameron-Osborne, refused even to counter discussions about their post general election plans if this involved hacking back on Labour spending commitments on key services.

That’s moved on following the banking crisis and the recession but there’s little doubt that Brown’s plan was to fight the next election like Labour fought the last by focussing on Tory cuts and what that would mean in terms of the “loss” of police officers/teachers/doctors etc in each individual constituency.

That was certainly the centre-piece of Labour’s communication strategy in the failed defence of Norwich North and it was clear at least a fortnight before the vote that this was not getting any traction.

In a forceful demand that Brown should go Sunny Hundal of the Labour supporting left of centre Liberal Conspiracy site has it like this: “..After the financial crisis I repeatedly pointed out that the Tory narrative about debt was in danger of overshadowing the Labour line on the need for a stimulus to the economy. That debate has now been lost and the public is overwhelmingly worried about public debt.

Then they started a row about ‘Tory cuts’ and instead of pushing them on the back foot, the Tories managed to turn it around and make the story about how Labour was hiding the extent of the cuts they were planning. It was a shambles and made them look even more dishonest…

In other words, thinking that Labour’s prospects can be salvaged by getting the public to realise the ‘true nature’ of the Tories is now naive…”

So is Brown going to continue and if not then what will Labour’s main proposition be? When it comes to things like this the Prime Minister does not appear to be very nimble and has a history of sticking with old lines for long after they have ceased to be effective.

At the moment his party is in a desperate electoral position and is still striving to find a vote-retaining proposition. With time running out Sunny Hindal thinks that Brown is incapable of dealing with the challenge.

I agree – the trouble is that it’s hard to identify anybody within Labour who is a match for Cameron – the politician who has turned UK politics on its head in the past four years.

Mike Smithson

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