So today’s polls have the Tories at 33 and 34 per cent. This after a final debate which, thanks to skewed polls, the media gave (spuriously) to David Cameron; after the biggest poster campaign in modern electoral history; after a set of weekend papers and TV effectively annointing him as Prime Minister, topped by Andrew Marr telling Mr Home-and-Dry that he was ‘on a roll.’
Mr Cameron’s language, verbal and body, was all pointing in the same direction yesterday, talking about his first Queen’s Speech, the tone of his government and so forth. One word screamed out from the screen – arrogance, entitlement, Downing Street here I come.
But is the very idea of a Cameron government that is stopping the momentum towards it. What’s more, the resistance to the idea appears to be enhanced by the media coverage, which is becoming a bigger issue.
The Tories’ entire strategy for the weekend was to create a sense of unstoppable momentum. After a few tough days for Labour, the Tory hope was that our activists would simply give up the fight. But the opposite seems to have happened. The desire to stop the Tories is strong. Canvassers all around the country report that people are asking how best to vote to stop a Cameron government. It means that in the Tory/Labour marginals that will decide the outcome, hopes remain high.
One other thing that is coming through is the sense that the Tories and the Lib Dems have totally underestimated the extent to which their threat to tax credits is beginning to cut through with the public, particularly women. Cameron has yet to be pressed properly on this, but there is still time.
The real narrative of this election is the poll lead Cameron had at the start, and its steady erosion. That is driven by people’s memories of the Tories, and their fears of the unchanged party Cameron leads. The idea of cutting tax credits for ordinary families whilst giving an enormous inheritance tax cut to the wealthiest families in the country strikes most people as pretty crazy. But it is entirely in keeping with the sort of Tory he is and the sort of Tory party he leads.
GB showed yesterday, in his whistlestop tour of ten London seats yesterday, that he still has the fight in him to fight for the future. The Party remains up for it. The Tories’ media-backed unstoppable momentum strategy has faltered badly.
All to play for. Recovery v risk. Substance v style. Fairness v unfairness. Keep knocking on them doors!! And make sure you see, and everyone sees, Labour’s final election broadcast presented by Ross Kemp, which is on tomorrow evening. I thought we would be hard pressed to match the Eddie Izzard film, the most viewed UK election broadcast, but Ross has done a great job – matching passion for Labour with a hard-headed assessment of the risk of a Tory government.
*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.