12 April 2010

Hold Friday’s front pages

Don’t jump to conclusions folks, Gordon Brown handled the questions very well at Labour's manifesto launch.

We could all be in for a pleasant surprise on Thursday evening.

As for the elephant in the room:

Our plans are costed on the basis of not raising VAT.

Are the Tories listening?

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  1. "Our plans are costed on the basis of not raising VAT."

    His manifesto pledges might not be, but I bet deficit reduction is.

  2. Rage Against The Dying of the LightApril 12, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    I subscribe to your blog, and read every entry with interest (not that I agree with everything you say, but that would make for a boring life!).

    Think you're really wrong here though. The manifesto launch seemed to be staggeringly stage managed, even by this election's standards - Nick Robinson booed for daring to ask about Afghanistan, and John Prescott explicitly accusing Adam Boulton (2nd debate moderator, for god's sake!) of being briefed by CCHQ.

    Best was Alan Johnson: "I don't think I can improve on your perfect answer, Prime Minister". Part-ironic (I hope) - but even that shows some evidence of grudges on show even at the manifesto launch.

    Even the Guardian can't find a way of defending it...and I reckon this is going to end up being the story.

  3. Rage Against The Dying of the Light - Prescott did have a point. I got the text from CCHQ that Brown referred to, which was wrong. Boulton swallowed it whole. However, I agree Brown shouldn't have upset a moderator.

    My overriding point is that Brown is being written off before the debate, which maybe a mistake.

    And, it remains to be seen if the Tories come unstuck on VAT.

  4. Rage Against The Dying of the LightApril 12, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    EDBE - Interesting that there was actually a briefing text. Still, I'm sure that goes the other way when the Mirror or Guardian ask Q's at Tory events? (Although I only follow these things from afar, whereas you're clearly at least near the front line).

    I wonder if there's an ongoing subtext here to:

    a) reduce the expectations of Brown's performance in the debates (as if it could go much lower...); and

    b) give Lord M plenty of excuses for a bad performance (in this case - well, he was bound to look a bit bad on Sky, the moderator is a Tory stooge).

    If anything, I think Brown is being deliberately written off by his own side, and the Tories are so busy having a go at Brown that they haven't yet cottoned on to the idea of praising him grudgingly to raise expectations.

  5. Rage Against The Dying of the Light - a) and b) correct.

    Mandelson is playing a clever game. And by describing Labour as the "underdog" they have nothing to lose. In other words they can say anything, hence the VAT remark.

  6. Rage Against The Dying of the LightApril 12, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    I suppose so.

    Labour are happy to say "if the Tories get it, xyz will happen", because everyone's contemplating a Tory victory.

    On the other hand, the Tories don't feel they can explicitly say "if Labour are re-elected, xyz will happen" (those GB scare posters don't count - puerile message), because it implies the possibility that Labour have a real chance of getting back into power.

    Hence every policy the Tories announce is dissected and criticised (fairly or unfairly) by Labour and the LDs, whereas the Tories are "using up" all their headlines trying to put forward those same policies to make them seem ready to govern.

    All fascinating stuff.