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Come on Dave and Nick – stop the carping

Posted on 19 April 2010 | 9:04am

There really is something quite unpleasant seeing the two big parties take lumps off each other. Come on, Nick and David, this is so old politics. The public are crying out for something more elevated than all this yah-boo blue-orange, orange-blue carping.

That’s why I was so pleased to hear that the party put third in one of the polls this morning – Labour – is turning the focus back to the economy, setting out their plans for securing the recovery, protecting public services, and warning of the risk to the recovery from the one person other than GB who could be PM after May 7, namely David Cameron, not to mention his ‘what a great week we had’ shadow chancellor George Osborne.

So as Cameron and Clegg slug it out through the media over who has the nicest tie, the prettiest wife and the silliest policies, GB and Alistair Darling will be back where they belong – on the centrality of the economy, substance, big points of defence and attack. All after spending the first few hours of the day heading the government handling of the volcanic ash situation. Talk about government being full of the unexpected events that have to be dealt with.

But the campaign does have to go on, and it is at a very exciting stage. The anti-politics mood is still out there for sure. But the anti-Tory mood is growing.


  • Patrick O\’Gara

    After reading Boris in The Telegraph this morning, and the balderdash written right and below by Ally and his acolytes, it is clear that voting for Clegg is the only possible answer to this sordid affair.

  • Simon Leonard

    I usually enjoy your posts Alastair but you’ve jumped the shark with this one –

    “as Cameron and Clegg slug it out through the media over who has the nicest tie, the prettiest wife”

    There’s only one party leader who’s wife is surgically attached to him and that’s your bloke.

  • Nick

    The Party of Campbell, Mandelson, Blair and Brown…now trailing in THIRD place in the opinion polls. I think that bears some repeating. THIRD place ! Yet still A.C continues ploughing his lonely, anti Cameron furrow.

    Where is your message of optimism?

  • David

    Hi Alastair

    Today programme wanted to interview a spokesperson from Conservative HQ at 8 10 am this morning on R4 regarding current situation.


    They had an interview with Tim Montgomerie instead.

    The scenario is therefore THAT IN MIDDLE OF ELECTION CAMPAIGN no one from Conservative Party HQ wants to be interviewed at 8 10 AM on FLAGSHIP TODAY PROGRAMME on BBC.


    Is it possible that after Chris Grayling, George Osborne (etc) having gone into hiding that this is now Conservative Party policy for emergency situations.

    Don’t panic Dave. Take your time you still have 16 days to resolve this emergency. Remember it only took you 4 years to resolve Lord Ashcroft’s tax status.

    Good Luck

  • John Willman

    Brilliant piece by David Yelland in today’s Guardian on how the LibDem surge could spike the pro-Cameron press who have bet on a Conservative victory. If Brown or Clegg had made the fantastic claims Cameron has made – “40-year-old black”, 800 coppers in the Met’s HR dept, Lexusgate and now swampy – the tabloids would have been all over them

  • Chris lancashire

    So only GB can save us? The man who brought no end to boom and bust – even though he said he had. The man who gave us a £40bn structural defecit at the height of a boom in revenues. The man who sold our gold for a £6bn loss even though he was advised not to. The man who has wasted £billions on ID cards, IT schemes, tax benefit fraud. The man who introduced tripartite bank governance that didn’t work.

    Only GB cab save us.

  • olli issakainen

    Tony Judt says in his new book Ill Fares The Land that we must value fairness over mere efficiency. Will Hutton will also say in his new book Them and Us that we need a wholesale revision of the system and values as recession has raised questions about the workability of capitalism.
    It is these kind of questions the leaders should be spending their time on.

  • Stan Speaker

    Yes government is about governing, I am really starting to think that the election is now out of reach for the Tories forming a majority. The Tories (regardless what Dave is saying or how he is behaving) are in a blind panic, how typical for those who “were born to rule”.

    GB and team should remain totally focussed on policy.

  • Andy Farrell

    Over the weekend I had chance to look on forums which the ‘Political Elite’ won’t.

    The general impression of the leaders debate is towards a Brown loss due to him being a politician.

    Bearing in mind the next debate is on Foreign policy, Clegg’s opposition to the war, Green Dave’s whoops-a-daisy on China and his new buddy links in Europe there is a possibility which is foolish to ignore of them becoming even stronger.

    There appears to be an anti-Brown vote equals an anti-politician vote mindset doing the rounds as dangerous as the successful Boris vote so I am hoping the media will do a full review of policy and not just gimmicks and sound bites soon.

  • Phillip Easton

    It’s nice to see you’re as bad with figures as we think, Mr Campbell. When is the elaction again? I’m fairly sure it’s not the 7th of May. And this is a very transparent attempt to try and push focus back on yourself.Just because people have begun to hate Labour, doesn’t mean they’re going to stop voting Liberal! The less people who like you means the less people who will listen to you.
    Labour obviously hope to win by pushing themselves as the underdog again. Well you’re not – you’re the ousted Alpha Male and you will have to do as nature intends – go off alone in the background to lick your wounds.

  • Patrick O\’Gara

    Why no comments? We should be told!

  • Colin Morley

    You can do so much better than this, Alastair. The Lib Dems seem to have got you flummoxed with their (to you) unexpected surge. The LDs have been positioned to the left of New Labour for some time and whatever they may say publicly will not do any deal with the Tories no matter what the outcome of the election. The majority of their supporters simply wouldn’t stand for it. I share your hope that the Tories don’t EVER get in again – but Clegg is presenting a real chance for change, not a phoney one. A Clegg/Brown/Darling/Cable coalition could have some real clout, and with input from the best brains, such as Campbell(Menzies),Hughes, Balls etc. the country really could get on its feet with a new kind of co-operative and non-adversarial politics.

  • Mark Wright

    Right, first things first. In answer to the burning questions in the meedja:

    Cameron, Clegg (although GB wins hands-down out of the three), Cameron.

    As for the unfolding crisis…makes me feel quite nostalgic for those halcyon days of mid-2007. If there’s one thing GB does well it’s crisis. It also raises him above the tit-for-tat shenanigans of the other two. Whilst Clegg mops up on the ‘change’ ticket it leaves GB with an open goal on substance.

    But the timing of this ‘natural’ event needs closer examination.

    Has the Son of the Manse called in a favour from the Man Upstairs? Or is this plume of volcanic ash the result of some Mandelsonian deal with the Icelandic government as part of their debt settlement with the UK?

    We need answers.

    And whilst you’re pondering just consider this: Whilst many doubt the existance of God, NOBODY doubts the existance of Peter Mandelson.

    The truth is out there…

  • Colin Durham

    I don’t know how many others are like me, and waiting for Cameron to blame the Volcano crisis on Gordon Brown.

    If Cameron gets anymore shallow he will turn into a jelly fish, but maybe that is about right, one brain cell, garbage going in, garbage coming out.

  • Nick

    I watched today’s Labour press conference in the City. It was dire. 99.9% of it was taken up by Brown and Darling attacking the wicked Tories. Indeed, the Chancellor’s first words at the podium were …’the Tories will’…..

    Is this really what it has come to? Putting the bogus fear of God into pensioners about their future tax credits. Surely the Master Of Strategic Advice himself must be blanching at this very poor, crude fare ? I repaet- what is Labour’s positive message in this campaign?

  • Patrick James

    Gordon Brown and Labour should remain consistent and solid for the rest of the campaign.

    He should stick with politics and policies.

    Cameron is going to be doing all he can to backstab Clegg. Cameron will say that he, himself is “doubling the positive” but his party and all his friends in the press will be under instructions to be as nasty and negative as possible.

    I think the public will see through that.

    I like Clegg but I don’t think he is experienced enough to be the Prime Minister.

    Let Clegg and Cameron fight it out over who is the newest/flashiest.

    Brown can stay on track to lead us safely to a full recovery from the economic crisis in the next government of the UK.

  • Sara Regan

    Alastair, either someone’s hacked your blog and replaced all references to Gordon Brown with Nick Clegg, or you’re a bit confused. Since when are the LibDems one of the ‘big two parties’? Four days ago half the country probably couldn’t have told you who their leader was. More than a little disingenuous, don’t you think, to try to portray the party that has been running the country for 13 years as the underdogs?

    And as for arguing over who has the prettiest wife, I think you’ll find it’s Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown who are engaged in the battle for who can wear the most approriate high street bargain. Nick Clegg’s wife has kept so far out of the media I don’t even know her name.

  • Graham Jones

    Let the Tories play the man, while we play the ball. Cameron is in trouble, and his friends in the media are in a rut what to do. They think bigging up Clegg damages Labour. How wrong could they be.
    Clegg’s policies are as shallow as Cameron’s; an inch deep and ten miles wide. They will leave Britain stranded, while the rest of the world sail off into the sunset.
    At the end of the day, the British people look at the policies that will affect their lives over the next 5 years. The cosmetic debate is over, we are now heading into the heart of election politics – SUBSTANCE.