With just weeks to go before Bottling Brown names the day, New Labour has peaked and squeaked too early. Parties are now on an election war footing working to a carefully planned pre-election grid. The Tories have played the long game. Now it's time to turn up the heat and boldly go where they've wobbled before. All part of the Cam plan.
Tories are finally getting their act together for the final hurdle after fannying around with the dire economic Brown mess and botching up ‘Broken Britain’.
Ashroft? Bully-Boy Brown? Fishy push polls and well-hung parliaments? That was then, this is now. With a May 6 election looking likely, most spot news spin disappears as distant memories. Some still linger, not least the debt-ridden economy and MPs' sordid expenses saga.
Voters can see through the sham of carefully spun policy. The 'mood' of the electorate will become more important.
The disgraceful spectacle of three New Labour MPs charged with fiddling expenses trying to put themselves above the law will stick in the throats of voters right up to election day.
Having the bare-faced cheek to plead they shouldn't stand in the dock was an affront to justice. Trying it on with a feeble excuse of parliamentary privilege is enough to turn the stomach of any decent folk.
Forget the Tory peer. Forget Mail prejudices. The Mail captured the mood with today's headline: "'Thieves' who think they're above the law". It was the sight of Morley, Chaytor and Devine which lingers. The outrage is set to raise its ugly head again when the troughers appear in court on March 30, with the noise of an election firing gun ringing in their ears.
The presentation of the main party leaders matters. Here freshly scrubbed up, clear speaking Dave has the edge by a mile. Stage-managed 'prime ministerial debates', leaving the SNP out in the cold, will be watched only to see who breaks out into a sweat.
Cash-strapped New Labour doesn't have the funds to fight a lengthy formal campaign. New Labour peaked far too early with the 'Tears for Piers' party political broadcast. SamCam is now getting ready for a quiet night in with Sir Trev before strict election laws over broadcast balance finally kick in. At home with the Cleggies? Give us a break.
The Orange Party doesn't buy into the hung parliament hype which is based on a spurious uniform swing. The election will be won in the key marginals where Tories are making great strides. But a hung narrative does help gee up Tories, give fag-end New Labour faithful false hope and allow 'Kingmaker' Clegg out to play on Fantasy Island.
Dreams of holding the balance of power has left lacklustre LibDem leader, Wonderboy Clegg, strutting around feeling important, milking it for all it's worth. But as the Orange Party noted yesterday, that only served to reveal Two-Faced Clegg's true colours - red and blue with a yellow streak.
A 'Change' and 'Fairer Britain' slogan nicked from both New Labour and Tories falls flat on its face.
Foggy figures and heady headlines with fishy polls and dodgy weightings fuelled the well spun narrative of a well hung parliament but left money markets waking up in a cold sweat after a night of Brown nightmares. Something has got to give.
Borrowing Brown's last roll of the dice with a pre-election economic manifesto dressed up as a 'budget' on March 24 is the last shot across the bows. But, unlike previous 'budgets', New Labour will not have the game all to themselves this close to an election.
The bogeyman of St George's Day, April 23, with crucial GDP growth figures out for Q1 looms large. Spinners gambling on the 'good news' of another rigged recovery run the risk of the figures exposed as a sham and the stark reality of a country slipping back into recession depression.
Efforts to capture the media during the days of purdah between election call and polling day is a forlorn hope. At a stroke, Westminster becomes a no-go area for party politicking. Strict broadcasting rules mark the end of Brown's BBC. Robinson will have his toenails clipped.
Tim Montgomerie at conservativehome, reports that strategy gurus Coulson and Hilton have joined at the hip, reporting direct to king of cuts Honest Osborne. Housewives favourite, Cuddly Ken, will be wheeled out more. The only one who can make mincemeat out of Masterful Mandy.
Brand allegiance and the politics of false hope fade into obscurity. So many voters who flocked to New Labour in droves in the heady days of '97 are now ripe for the picking.
After playing all its cards, New Labour isn't winning, it's losing, whichever way it's spun. For the Tories, past pussyfooting around will be history. Bold, realistic messages will become the order of the day. Angry Cameron showed the fire in his belly at this week's PMQs, rounding on Porkie Brown who lied through his teeth over defence spending.
An economic mess. Five more years of Blustering Brown? Perish the thought. And it is those thoughts which will be driven home to linger in the minds of voters right up until polling day.