By Tim Montgomerie
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The latest opinion polls aren't encouraging for Labour. The Government has been through very difficult times but the overnight YouGov survey has the Conservatives just 3% behind Labour. Lib Dem HQ's attempts to say they have turned the corner (covered by the FT) are not borne out. Clegg's party remains in single figures.
The Prime Minister's tough position on law and order may be the main explanation for the mini Tory revival. In contrast to Ed Miliband's response to the riots David Cameron and the parliamentary Conservative Party have been in tune with the public mood on sentencing, docking the benefits of looters and reviewing human rights laws.
This seems an odd moment for the Labour Party to attack the Conservatives for moving to the Right but, according to The Observer, that is what Ed Miliband is planning to do. Shaun Woodward MP – who defected to Labour more than a decade ago – is heading up a new anti-Tory unit. The newspaper reports:
"The opposition believes the prime minister has abandoned the centre ground in recent months to adopt a more orthodox conservative stance on issues such as law and order, immigration and welfare. They are now set to launch a concerted campaign to brand Cameron as a "recognisably rightwing" leader in a move that will inevitably inflame political debate."
Bring it on, I say. Big majorities of the British people support the Tory positions on crime, immigration and welfare. If Labour want to highlight those issues they are more crazy than I thought. On these issues as with the cost of climate change policies, government waste, schools and the European Union the public is becoming more conservative.
David Cameron is acutely sensitive to being seen as a centrist on issues like the NHS and Tory strategists are working overtime to protect his standing in this area but otherwise Labour's strategy looks ridiculous. Let's hope the Observer leak is NOT an August space filler.