Today, the second round of the Tory attack was fronted by Michael Fallon MP. My headline to this blog doesn't capture the measured way the new Deputy Tory Chairman – "the thinking man's rottweiler" – made his critique:
- Building on Matthew Hancock's dossier of Friday, Ed Miliband is asked to specify how he'll close the deficit. So far he has opposed nearly every deficit-reducing measure proposed by the Coalition and made new spending pledges of his own. Hancock calculated a £67bn black hole in the new Labour leader's numbers.
- Second, says Fallon, why has Ed Miliband u-turned on one of his leadership campaign promises? He told Labour's electoral college members that, before Osborne's spending review, he'd set out his own plans. He now says he won't.
- Third, Ed Miliband is backing away from Alistair Darling's plan and ducking tough choices that the Coalition has made on increasing VAT and freezing some public sector wages. Is he capable of tough decisions and straight-talking?
- Fourth, he is siding with public sector unions, including tube workers and fire fighters, who threaten to bring essential services to a standstill.
Expect more of the same in coming days. CCHQ believes that first impressions last and they are determined to define Ed Miliband as a deficit denier… who is afraid of taking decisions… particularly ones that might upset the unions who funded his leadership bid.