This morning I went to the Conservatives’ NHS draft manifesto launch event. It felt very like the Boris events in the run up to the 2008 London elections. It was very well done and the Tory team came across well.
Having been distracted with looking after baby and travelling up to town this morning I had missed the Chancellor’s black hole document.
The Chancellor’s document has been an effective spoiling tactic although it demonstrates some chutzpah after Brown’s expanding public expenditure claim on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday. It seems that it has somewhat put the Tories on the back foot having to defend themselves, although Osborne has been quick to rebut the Labour claims.
It seems to me that the Tories are pursuing a strategy whilst Labour have had some luck with a tactic. It is always a mistake to talk about what your opponents are doing. The Tory message is not as clear or as simple as some would like but at least they are devoting their energies to their own agenda. Labour isn’t.
This was one reason this morning’s event felt like a Boris one – Livingstone made the same mistake. Boris was sunny and people liked him whilst Livingstone spent his time talking about Boris. Another reason was that I sat next to a new party member – an older Welsh bloke – an experience I had more than once attending Boris events. I am not sure that Darling was talking to many new members this morning. Boris’s step-by-step roll out of his manifesto was an impressive feature of his campaign which also seems to be being repeated now.