Desperation sets in as Conservative poll lead continues slipping….
I don’t agree with everything Gordon Brown does; policy wise I am on the left and I dont, for example, share entirely his belief that economic cut backs should happen now and think to say they are is the fundamentally wrong. I think mistakes have been made in his tenure as Prime Minister and that in many ways he has tried too hard to be something he isnt.
Having said all that I think the recent Conservative attacks on Brown fall straight into the category of ‘playing the man not the ball’. Conservative Home reports;
Mr Cameron will say in a speech later this morning. “The character of his Government – secretive, power-hoarding, controlling – is his character.” Ouch.
Surely this is a joke coming from a Cameron who presumably supports the extension of CCHQ’s control over Conservative candidates blogs and Twitter pages? A joke coming from a Cameron whose control over his own party is despised by its own MP’s? It surely is not a coincidence that this spate of personal attacks on Brown has intensified in direct proportion to the decline in the Conservatives opinion poll ratings.
However, this line will backfire simply because the electorate has a very limited threshold when it comes to what it sees as personal attacks in politics. At PMQ’s it is an accepted part of the knock about and in other contexts it is tolerated to some degree however, the best personal attacks are those that are left unspoken. In 1997 there was very little direct Labour attack on John Major’s character (in contrast to the Conservatives ‘Demon Eyes’ effort) because the public had already made up its mind. Instead Blair focused on promotion of a positive policy program and ‘feel good’ mood; something Cameron seems incapable of doing.
The ‘Demon Eyes’ campaign was decried and almost mocked as the sign of weakness that it actually was and Cameron’s efforts will be seen in the same light. In fact, he will rally Labour support around Brown and generate more sympathy than otherwise have existed. This is the surest sign of any that the Conservative campaign is faltering and it is indeed ‘GameOn’.