Chris Gilson looks at this week in election blogs.
Through the weekend blogging was busy on what we knew already about Manifesto pledges. Sunder Katwala at Next Left examined Tory marriage tax-break proposals, while Tom Clark at Guardian Politics asks, “Is it right to reward matrimony?”
Simon Hoggart at Guardian Politics warned that Electoral Tedium had already set in, and Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting.com looked at the risk of the Lib Dem vote eating into Labour’s, while Iain Dale thought that the Lib Dems were desperate, but Sunny H at Liberal Conspiracy said that half of voters want the Lib Dems in minority government.
Guido unpacked the difference between Tory and Labour’s spending cuts (i.e. – there’s not a great deal), Coffee House made the case for voting Conservative, and Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal commented on Labour’s campaign difficulties
The Staggers looked at the key seats that could deprive Cameron of a majority, and Sam Coates of Red Box looked at why the Tories’ lead isn’t bigger after their National Insurance announcement. Paul Cotterill at Liberal Consipracy on Tory plans to interfere at ‘home’ but not with business.
Monday – Labour’s Manifesto launched today
Chris Grayling had disappeared from the internet, according to Dizzy. And John Harris says David Cameron’s has a lack of exposure in the north.Sunny H looked at why the Left cannot abandon New Labour, and George Easton at The Staggers examined the Tories’ new ‘shocking’ crime leaflet (and Labour’s ‘communist poster’ manifesto cover), while Nick Robinson asked if manifestos matter anymore. Julian Glover at Guardian Politics says Labour’s manifesto is ‘meaningless’, while Nicholas Watt is much more positive. PolitcalBetting.com finds it ‘boring’.
Nick Wood blogging at ConservativeHome is sceptical of Labour’s new-found ‘aversion’ to spending commitments, whilst Sunder Katwala at Liberal Conspiracy takes the Lib Dem’s claims that Labour has made taxes less fair, to task.
Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome talks about why Brown and Cameron are right to say no to Jeremy Paxman, and Jonathan Glancey at GuardianPolitics compares the austere cover of the Tories manifesto with Labour’s sunburst.
Tuesday – Conservative Manifesto launched today
Guido reckoned that Nick Clegg will be the biggest winner of the TV debates, the first of which is this Thursday night, but Paul Waugh at the Evening Standard asks if the “Give the boy a chance” factor will help get Cameron into Number 10.
Rick Muir, of the IPPR is guest blogging at Left Foot Forward and suggests that given that there is no ‘more money’, then public sector reform is the only option available, while Dizzy looks at Labour’s VAT ‘tactical failure’. David Blackburn at Coffee House does not predict good things for Gordon Brown in the foreign policy TV debate.
Hopi Sen has some important questions about the Conservatives’ manifesto, while Iain Dale says it’s the best Conservative Manifesto since 1987. Jon Bernstein of The Staggers says the Tories’ invitation to join the government is a ‘boring’ one. Guardian Politics calls it a ‘do-it-yourself’ revolution. Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward is concerned that the Tories’ social care policies will hit the poorest the hardest, by leaving them uninsured for their social care costs. Sunder Katwala guest blogging at Left Foot Forward then investigated the Tories’ missing manifesto commitments.
Wednesday 14 April – Lib Dem Manifesto launched today
Tim Montegomerie at ConservativeHome congratulates Oliver Letwin for his work on the Tory manifesto, and later says that immigration is the most talked about issue at present. Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward says the Tories have missed their chance at becoming more progressive. Simon Clark at Taking Liberties looks at the parties’ health policies – more moves towards disease prevention predominate, while Liberal Conspiracy looks in depth at Tory cancer policy. Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal says the Tories’ plans to turn the Civil Service into a ‘Civic Service’ is ‘silly’. Sadie Smith, guest blogs at Left Foot Forward on the potential lack of public desire to engage in Cameron’s ‘big society’.
Neil O’Brien, of Policy Exchange, blogging at the Telegraph on the potential for a ‘Minister for Debt’ in the next government, while Michael White at Guardian Politics talks about the voters’ desire for a hung parliament – this won’t solve everything though. Julian Glover at Guardian Politics looks at how little voters have really changed their allegiances since 2005, while Robert Shrimsley at the FT’s Westminster Blog comments on how ‘masculine’ this election has been thus far.
Mark Pack has the Liberal Democrat’s manifesto by numbers, while Iain Dale is quick to poke holes in it, especially the idea of putting VAT on new houses, and Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal calls it a ‘damp squib’. Peter Hoskin at Coffee House talks about the Lib Dem’s grasping of fiscal responsibility as their most important issue, and Nick Robinson agrees.
James Kirkup at the Telegraph asks “Why are the party leaders avoiding the North-East?”, and Sunny H at Liberal Conspiracy considers that we may have the biggest turnout in decades come the 6th of May.
Thursday – first Leader’s debate
Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal talked about the dangers of Presidentialism in the election race and Kerry McCarthy from Shot from both sides discussed the melancholy of no longer being an MP (a least until the 6th of May). Sonny H at Liberal Conspiracy looked at whether it would aide the Tories to talk about immigration. Norman Tebbit would ‘hate’ the Tories’ HQ according to Julian Glover at The Guardian. Eric Pickles at ConservativeHome makes light of his recent Twitter gaffe.
Anders Lustgarten, blogging at The Staggers, examined how some voters reject Labour only to go over to the BNP, while George Eaton at The Staggers on how new marginal polls suggest that the Tories’ may face an uphill battle to win key Lib Dem marginals. Sally Bercow at Guardian Politics tells us how to spot a Tory canvasser at your door. Sunder Katwala at Next Left unpacks one of the Tories’ key statements on society and the state.
Jon Berntein at The Staggers looks at the top five parties by Twitter and newspaper mentions, and finds Labour to be generally ahead. Paul Waugh at The Evening Standard talks about Labour’s new broadcast from Eddie Izzard, and that picture of Gordon Brown (which has already been doctored).
Jonathan Isaby at ConservativeHome is very happy to announce that David Cameron will take ‘centre stage’ during the first of the Leaders’ TV debates this evening, while Polly Tonybee at Guardian Politics is downbeat on how Gordon Brown will perform tonight.Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal looks back to the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960 – the first for the US, as is the case in the UK now. Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting.com, on the uber-polling that will accompany tonight’s election debate, while Benedict Brogan at The Telegraph is worried that we’ll all be bored.
Post-debate bloggers gave their opinion, divided as expected along their parties’ lines (though most felt Nick Clegg came out the best); for Iain Dale Cameron was the winner, followed by Clegg; Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting, feels that Clegg won, but the Scottish people lost; Peter Hoskin at Coffee House says Cameron ‘outperformed’ Brown; Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal said that Cameron could have taken more chances to score points on Brown; Mark Lawson at Guardian Politics said that the debate was solid, but no ‘reputations were unmade’.
Last night’s debate pulled in over 9 million viewers according to Jon Bernstein at The Staggers. Patrick Wintour at Guardian Politics looks at how Nick Clegg’s gain in the debate is also a gain for Labour, while the BBC’s Nick Robinson says the debate is good for the electorate, and Dizzy Thinks looks at the possibility that the Lib Dems may supplant Labour as one of the ‘big two’ parties (and later does some fact-checking). Sunny H at Liberal Conspiracy examines why Clegg and Cameron did well – populism and values. Simon Clark at Taking Liberties found the debate underwhelming, while Guido looks at the differing interpretations of the debate between the Daily Mirror and the News of the World.
Iain Dale looks at how a Lib Dem surge could take support away from Labour, and help the Tories win, and later asks why Cameron played it (the debate) safe, while Marcus Roberts at Left Foot Forward says that David Cameron’s comments on the ‘uncertainty’ from China were wide off the mark.
Mark Pack looks at the use of humour in the election campaign so far and looks into the Conservatives’ spin after the debate, while Will Straw at Left Foot Forward takes apart Cameron’s cancer statistics, while Kate Hudson at The Staggers looks at why Nick Clegg is right on scrapping Trident.
Nick Wood guest blogs at ConservativeHome on how CCHQ should deal with the ‘I agree with Nick’ phenomenon and Julian Glover at Guardian Politics says that the ‘Tories need to knock out Nick Clegg’, and Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward looks at Brown’s second place in the ‘Facebook vote’.