Monday, 4 January 2010

Beginning of the end; or how the election campaign was started

Right first actual post. I've had a fun morning, suffering from jet lag means I'm actually inhabiting a normal sleep pattern for the moment so I was up early enough to see the un-official start of this years UK government election campaigns.

It would appear that Labour spent their Christmas trying to figure out how much the Torys want to spend, while the Torys spent it coming up with ways of changing the NHS. I'm not sure which route will score them the most points in the end but I think Labour will edge ahead on this one.

I think this for several reasons: reporting that there is a £34bn hole in the Tory's plan will be a hard idea to budge, a lot of what the Torys are saying about the NHS will be old hat to most voters and Labour have cunningly left the Torys little to attack in return.

Hole's in their accounts seem to be a running theme for the Torys: all parties use it as a standard cheap stab "how are you going to pay for X" but it seems to often cause the Torys the most problems. In addition ringfencing the NHS will be hard to achieve, even without spending more on it above inflation it accounts for a huge proportion of the yearly budget.

The points the Torys have made about the NHS will sound good but I think a lot of the will suffer from being a secondary worry to the economy and cuts in general. When Labour took power they did so by highlighting what were major problems in the NHS of the time, trying the same trick when Labour have managed to deal with a lot of the problems facing the NHS will be a hard to pull (there are problems but saying that league tables are a poor measure isn't like saying that people wait up to 10 hours in A&E which was the case when the Torys lost).

As for leaving the Torys little to attack I hope Labour will hold off publishing a manifesto for a while. If nothing else it will damage politics in the UK to have a 5 month election campaign as it will be boring and kill debate.

Of course if the Torys are cunning they may be able to turn this about and use the early attack by Labour to unfoot them and then set the pace with their manifesto, drafts of which they are cunningly publishing over the next few months.

Anyway that was pretty boring but engaged me for the morning so enjoy!

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