Labour have tried a number of anti-Cameron tactics. There have been the false start charges of opportunism, the chameleon attack, the estate agent misfire and the comparison with President Bush. None have worked but they may finally have decided upon a strategy. It was on show earlier this evening when Labour’s James Purnell and our Grant Shapps were interviewed by Sky News on College Green. Mr Purnell consistently attacked Cameron as weak and (sorry Grant) he won the encounter.
Labour advisers know that Cameron is overwhelmingly seen as more charismatic. They know that’ll be difficult to counter. They are building up Brown’s biggest asset – that voters see him as strong. The Conservatives need to think carefully about this. The wrong attacks – ‘Brown is a control freak’ – may only reinforce Brown’s heavyweight reputation. Remember how Spitting Image used to attack Margaret Thatcher as a tyrant? Downing Street loved those attacks (they reinforced Mrs T’s Falklands stature etc). When she was painted as mad (‘We are a grandmother’) the satirists’ bite started to draw blood. Brown needs to be attacked on his record and his closeness to Blair’s record. David Cameron and George Osborne must certainly avoid direct attacks themselves. They should only ever use surrogate assassins.