As the long campaign for the general election continues, this morning brought another round of press conferences, briefings and spin classes (Not the fun kind with stationary bikes and leotards, the mysterious kind with Malcolm Tucker-types). It was a busy morning for journalists as they rushed about trying to hear what the great and the good had to say. While they were doing that, they popped in to listen to David Cameron and Nick Clegg make speeches as well.
Clegg decided to announce that the Lib Dems would be focussing on “fairer taxation, a boost for primary school education, a programme of infrastructure investment and political reform” as their priorities for the election campaign. That’s another way of saying they’re scrapping a few of their old policies like, well, all of them really to concentrate on four vague statements which have no costing attached to them. Now, if there was even the remotest chance of the Lib Dems winning a general election, there might be a bit more coverage in the press and people might, you know, care and stuff. But there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening. Plus the Liberal Democrats having a u turn in policy is hardly unusual if we’re honest about it. Of course, if you believe the polls, there is a distinct chance of them being the “kingmakers” of the next parliament in the event of a hung parliament. Nick Clegg has been very fastidious in declaring that he will not side with one party or another on ideological grounds (possible because there is very little Lib Dem ideology), but will wait to see what the voters say. On the other hand, Clegg’s theoretical chancellor, Vince Cable last week backed away from the Tory party when he said that he agreed with the principles of the Government’s 8-year fiscal plan. In the event of that hung parliament, the Lib Dems policy positions will become a lot more relevant, as Labour and the Tories try to land that hot date.
Meanwhile, David Cameron made his own speech at an event of the Demos think-tank. He didn’t say a great deal of interest. Just yet another defence of the married couples tax proposals. Fairly dull stuff really. Except for the praise he poured on one of the guests at the event. A man he said was the basis for Iain Duncan Smith’s policies. A man who shares a lot of common goals with David Cameron. A man who, well let’s face it, shouldn’t have bloody well been there. Frank Field MP.