ThreeheadlinesThe above clippings from the three newspapers that have traditionally been vital components of a winning Tory coalition will be very welcome to the embattled Team Cameron.  Communications director Andy Coulson has helped the leadership to finally craft a message that resonates with the Conservative Party’s natural supporters whilst still speaking to the wider nation’s anxieties about crime and social breakdown.

The news pages’ reaction to yesterday’s announcements on crime are followed up with very positive leader commentary, too…

The Sun
"David Cameron starts by promising to restore honesty to sentencing.
He wants to end the farcical situation which lets murderers and rapists
free after a term which might once have been served for burglary.  He
promises more powers for magistrates to clear courtroom backlogs.  And
until more jails are built, he backs The Sun’s campaign for prison
ships and converted army camps… It’s hard to see how anyone would
disagree with these ideas — or why they haven’t been implemented

Daily Mail: "Not for the first time, David Cameron’s Tories have proved themselves capable of serious thought about the causes of Britain’s problems and their solutions.  They showed it when Iain Duncan Smith published his plans to support marriage. And again when John Redwood unveiled his proposals to boost competitiveness and ease taxes on hard-pressed families.  Now they’ve demonstrated it a third time with their mini-manifesto on tackling what they correctly identify as Britain’s ‘crime crisis’ – whose very existence Labour refuses to acknowledge."

Telegraph: "Central to the policy is its all-encompassing approach and a deliberate avoidance of quick-fix solutions. Some things – more vigorous policing, tougher sentencing – can be tackled swiftly; others – indiscipline in schools, family breakdown, the deleterious effects of welfare dependency – will take years.  Refreshingly, Mr Cameron also shows he is prepared to take on the arbiters of popular culture by targeting violent computer games and music that glorifies thuggery. We face a colossal challenge. The Tory leader shows that he has a sure grasp of what needs to be done."

We are beginning to see the contours of a Conservative election campaign – should the currently strangely quiet new Prime Minister decide to go to the country:

  • A major emphasis on crime and social breakdown;
  • A very personal campaign by David Cameron to reverse NHS closures;
  • Cuts in family and inheritance taxation paid for by green taxation.

The green taxation element is the big problem in this manifesto.  I don’t think the public will buy it.  All of the good work of the last few days could be undone by the Gummer-Goldsmith report if the leadership fail to handle it properly.  Nick Ferrari monstered the air travel proposals when I discussed them with him on LBC this morning.  If the crime initiative is Cameron’s best hope of killing the Brown bounce, the G-G green report could break the Tory coalition apart again.

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