The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog

RSS

The Times attacks Cameron

Paper declares there is no "compelling case" for a Tory government

A damning leader in today's Times questions David Cameron's fitness to govern. In the wake of another opinion poll showing a hung parliament is on the cards, the paper declares:

Clearly David Cameron is not making a convincing case. The central charge against him is that, while he is approachable and likeable, his aims and values as a future prime minister of this country are still unclear. David Cameron has yet to answer a basic question: what does he stand for?

It goes on:

Mr Cameron's case is not yet persuasive. His speeches are replete with favourable references to charities but precious little about the practical business issue of job creation. He has been fond lately of set-piece speeches of dubious intellectual and strategic wisdom on the iniquity of the big state and health and safety legislation . . . Mr Cameron is, instead, projecting the aura of a man who wants power rather more than he knows what to do with it.

Cameron's intense anti-statism (in his conference speech he made the absurd claim that "big government" was to blame for the financial crisis) has damaged his party's credibility. There is something in the Labour line that "those who do not believe in the power of government should not be trusted to form one".

The Times concludes:

It is all very well to complain about the Labour record but we still await a clear, unambiguous and compelling case for a Conservative government.

It's a timely reminder that unlike its Wapping cousin the Sun, the Times remains committed, at least in principle, to Labour.

After you've had a look at the latest Populus figures (which would leave the Tories 21 seats short of a Commons majority) it's well worth reading John Harris in today's Guardian on the sudden downturn in Tory fortunes.

In the piece, the psephologist John Curtice points out that the Conservatives' lead is particularly "soft" due to the decreasing number of people who describes themselves as "Tory identifiers". The party's poll lead is built on floating voters, who "have at least the potential to disappear".

Given the fragility of the Tory lead, and given that anything between a Labour lead of 1 per cent and a Tory lead of 10 per cent could result in a hung parliament, Brown is probably right to pursue a "core vote" strategy in the hope this will prove just enough.

 

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter