Wednesday, 6 January 2010

GE2010: General Election Summary Day #2

Conservatives could spend twice or even three times as much as Labour. The Times had the story of the day with speculation that the Conservatives might be able to spend two to three times as much as Labour on the election campaign. Expect Labour to accuse the Conservatives of 'buying' the electorate.

There was renewed speculation about Gordon Brown's position as Labour leader. There is probably a majority of Labour MPs who accept that Brown is a loser but no majority behind an alternative candidate. We are now too close to an election unless one Labour figure can have a Michael Howard-style coronation as leader. Otherwise the electorate will look at a leadership contest with disdain, even disgust.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat's Leader refused to be drawn on coalition thinking. In his most important intervention of the campaign so far the Liberal Democrat leader wrote that there would be
"no backroom deals or under-the-counter “understandings” with either of the other two parties."
A key message for the Conservatives in Lib-Dem/Con marginals is that a vote for Clegg might keep Labour in by the back door.

Greg Clark and Nick Herbert were the Conservatives stars of the day. Nick Herbert got good coverage this morning for his pledge to create a supermarket ombudsman to prevent large retailers from abusing their market position and Greg Clark has got big coverage all afternoon for riding the cold weather stories with a dire warning about dangerously low gas reserves.

The Conservative poster campaign, launched on Monday, continues to get lots of attention. The Daily Mail says it is costing half a million pounds. The Times was reporting that Mrs. Cameron approved the photo. The Times' Sam Coates explored whether the image of the Conservative Party's leader was airbrushed.

Alistair Darling refused to rule out increasing VAT to 20%. It had been reported that Labour planned to frighten voters with allegations of secret Tory plans for a VAT hike. That will be impossible if they can't rule it out themselves.

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