No we’re not talking about the Olympics, that Team GB are doing rather well, but the other Team GB headed by bumbling Brown have hit a 30 year low in the polls. However its not just the polls I am interested in because there are far more indicators which make a Conservative victory at the next General Election an ever more realistic prospect. Even David Blunkett saw the light by suggesting as far back as June that he understood why people believed the Conservatives were offering a more attractive alternative and that Labour had ‘hit rock bottom’. Well unfortunately for David and for Gordon rock bottom is deeper than they first thought.
Since the time of Blunkett’s rock bottom remark Labour have completely lost economic confidence which means, for us, there is all to play for. When Britain crashed out of the ERM in 1992 the Tories lost their economic confidence for the long haul and subsequently lost the following election. New Labour’s Black Wednesday moment came with the prime minister’s unscrupulous shenanigans last year over whether to call that election. That situation subsequently forced Darling into a shamelessly political and hastily assembled pre-budget report, including copycat announcements on inheritance tax and non-doms, which voters naturally refused to be taken in by. This showed voters that Labour were just coasting their way through public life and had little concrete plans for the future.
Since Labours Black Wednesday the list of economic disasters has got longer, whether it be the botched nationalisation of Northern Rock, the 10p tax band and changes to capital-gains tax, the further damage of road-tax rises or the confusion over stamp duty, Gordon Brown and Alaistar Darling look increasingly like tweedle dum and tweedle dee when it comes to economics and voter confidence has hit rock bottom. Cameron on Osbourne on the other hand look cool and confident without offering any real solutions, therein lies the recipe for success. The two top tories regularly cling to the phrase ‘share the proceeds of growth’ well if the latest figures are anything to go by there is going to be little to share and thus have little to offer which is why they need to play it as cool as they have been doing lately.
Cameron is right to hold back on policy for now, at least if the inheritance tax debarcle is anything to go by, however pretty soon he is going to have to come up with some concrete conditions for our economic revival because buzzwords and soundbites just wont cut it. Until then Cameron has to remind the country of what Labour has done wrong rather than present a coherent alternative. The temptation is to call for further policies and be irritated by Camerons seeming coyness in regard to economic policy however Labour know that by not presenting an alternative the country’s eye will be fixed on Labour at a time when they would rather it wasn’t. Labour will do their damndest over the next few weeks and months to put the errors and confusion of the past year behind them, our aim must be not to let them.
Labour can at least be pleased about one thing which has been revealed today: with Gordon Brown safely out of the country their poll ratings are no better… but at least they’ve stopped getting worse.