On the day the clocks change, the policy debate stops. The election turns into a battle between the two ‘weakest links’.
First, the non-shock of the day. Labour have decided “to focus on Osborne as the prime target throughout the campaign”.
A senior Labour party insider said mocked-up images of Osborne standing outside 11 Downing Street had been tried out on the focus groups and had drawn very negative responses.
Then comes the jaw-dropping comment:
The intention is not to make it personal, but to make it about policy.
Mandelson is going to enjoy himself.
The Tories have brought this upon themselves. They could and should have moved Osborne away from the front line weeks ago and replaced him with Ken Clarke. It is too late now. If Osborne performs badly in the Channel 4 debate on Monday, where he will be besieged by both Darling and Cable, the Labour attacks will only intensify.
Second, we come to Gordon Brown. It hasn't taken long for M&C Saatchi to come up with the obvious negative posters.
Their target is an easy one, but how will the posters go down with the voters? Have the Tories panicked and played their thump card too early? If they don't work, then where do they go from here?
If only the Cabinet had done the necessary and replaced Brown will Alan Johnson, then Saatchi would have faced a more difficult challenge. In fact, they probably would have turned the work down.