Heaven only knows what tool David Cameron has with him in that hole he has dug for himself. It is certainly being out to good use.
First, Peter Bringle, “a top Tory lobbyist” doesn't mince his words:
The Tory campaign is shambolic and unless somebody of quality and experience takes control of it now there is a real danger of the Tories throwing away what should be an inevitable election victory. Should this happen, David Cameron will never be forgiven by his party and his party's supporters in the country.
It is understood that Mr Cameron has had several conversations with Lord Ashcroft about where he paid his taxes and got little by way of response. “He is a very private person,” said one senior Conservative.
But wait, there is more:
Tory parliamentary candidates have undergone training by a rightwing group whose leadership has described the NHS as "the biggest waste of money in the UK", claimed global warming is "a scam" and suggested that the waterboarding of prisoners can be justified.
The YBF chief executive, Donal Blaney, who runs the courses on media training and policy, has called for environmental protesters who trespass to be "shot down" by the police and that Britain should have a US-style liberal firearms policy. In an article on his own website, entitled Scrap the NHS, not just targets, he wrote: "Would it not now be better to say that the NHS – in its current incarnation – is finished?"
The group's close ties to the Tories were cemented this week when the Conservative party chairman, Eric Pickles, and the shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, spoke at the annual YBF parliamentary rally at the House of Commons, which was chaired by Blaney.
Blaney is entitled to his views, but this will put the Tories on the defensive yet again.
Why, oh why would Team Cameron wish to be associated with this outfit? It shows a lack of judgement so close to an election.
To cope with the mild panic that must be breaking out at CCHQ, the subject of immigration has been wheeled out prop up the vote in marginal seats.
We all remember how and why Michael Howard exploited this small matter in 2005.
Andrew Grice sums up “another lost week” for the Tories:
Mr Cameron's impressive speech to the Tories' spring conference last Sunday steadied nerves. But not for long. This was "education week" on the party's election grid. If you haven't noticed because of all the Ashcroft headlines, you are not alone. "I didn't know that," one Tory MP confided yesterday.
A frustrated Tory leader told journalists on Tuesday that they were "flogging a dead horse" over the Ashcroft saga. But this horse has legs, and it is still running. On the eve of an election, it is reinforcing the Tories' image as a party of and for the rich far better than Labour could ever do.
Indeed so, but Labour will be happily put the gloss paint on this tail of woe. Mandelson has still got his foot on the brake, once he puts it on the accelerator it’s going to be a quite a show.
As Harold Wilson once said:
A week is a long time in politics.