Thursday, 8 April 2010

So Far...So What ?

Four weeks tonight, it'll be over.

I suspect some of the frantic Tory activists on won't make it if they carry on as they have been since Tuesday.

To be honest, very little has happened yet outside the "air war". Here in East Ham, we had leaflets today from BOTH Labour and the Liberal Democrats and most campaigns will be in a major literature phase rather than door-knocking at this stage.

This is all "phoney war" stuff and while tonight's YouGov poll shows a small move back toward the Tories, the reaction to any poll showing a strong Conservative number from the activists only tells me just how worried they are.

Yes, the Conservatives have had a good start though their National Insurance policy, like today's ludicrous "Citizen's Army" idea, is hampered by the nagging prospect of it having to be paid for at a time of (apparent) national stringency.

George Osborne claims he won't have to raise income tax or VAT and the public finances can be restored by "efficiency savings" in the public sector. Within local Government, most Councils have been operating a 3% year-on-year saving for a number of years.

The Conservative press are too busy eulogising Cameron and Osborne to offer any serious insight into these proposals so it's up to the centre and centre-left to ask the questions and tell the unpalatable truth.

The Conservative plans to cut public spending make no sense. To claim that the deficit can be slashed without any kind of tax rise is laughable economics. To talk about uncosted promises such as "Citizen's Armies" is irresponsible populist nonsense.

Any real financial credibility the Conservatives might have had has been destroyed in the past 72 hours. As the campaign goes on and the questions start being asked, the Tories will have to come up with more than platitudes.

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