Thursday, 18 February 2010

Pre- election campaign hots up

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Forecast UK is now predicting a smaller Conservative victory, if the general election was called now. Whilst the Conservatives are still strong favourites to be the largest party there must be some real concerns that the polls are showing a steady slide away from David Cameron. A majority of just 40 seats can easily change during the general election campaign.

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Here is a quick round up of some of the latest news and policy launches for the parties.

The Conservatives new campaign of Two Nations will be watched with interest to see, if it can reverse the slippage in the polls by attacking Labour over poverty. Presumably they are trying to tap into the working people's frustration with falling living standards, rising unemployment trends and despondency with Labour and Brown. Yet, it still seems a very long way to go before working people will swing decisively towards the Conservatives. It may actually play far better with Lib Dem and soft New Labour voters who are disillusioned with Labour and Cameron wants to attract over with compassionate conservatism. (Their interactive documents using the issuu system is a user friendly way to encourage people to open the documents and easily turn the pages like they were reading a book.)

Labour is plugging away with the question of Conservative 'substance' to its policies. I think the voters have already cottoned onto this and I wonder how much more mileage there is in highlighting the same issue. With the Conservatives rolling out policies I think it would be more productive for Labour to attack the detail of the policies as they are announced. Likewise Labour is challenging the Conservatives assertion that they would only take away child credits from those earning £50,000 or more. Labour says a family earning more than £31,000 will lose their entitlements under a Conservative government.

Liberal Democrats
The Lib Dems have launched in the past few days a new green jobs manifesto pledge. This will burnish their green credentials, which is seen by voters as very strong. There seems to be new policy launches at the rate of two or three a week from the Lib Dems and they will no doubt feel aggrieved that as they stay positive the newspapers tend to stay focused on the negative war of words between Labour and the Conservatives.
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Plaid Cymru have recently attacked the Labour Government's economic record, although there doesn't seem to be a detailed alternative set of economic policies offered by them.

The SNP interestingly have turned their fire power on the Conservatives with their triple whammy attack regarding feared cuts if the Conservatives come to power in Westminster.

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The DUP meanwhile produce several press releases each day, although most of them are naturally very local to Northern Ireland. Interestingly, Nigel Dodds MP is calling for greater unionist unity. Clearly the DUP are trying to put the difficulties with Iris Robinson behind them. I trust Iris is starting to put her life back together and wish her all the best.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Fein has been highlighting the cause of Irish unity.

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The UUP have been flagging up concerns about drug use by youngsters.

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The Greens (with high hopes for at least one seat in Brighton at the general election) have been backing Bill Bragg's crusade against the banker's bonus'.

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