Later today David Cameron will mark the day on which Gordon Brown had planned to hold a General Election with a big picture speech. There’s nothing dramatically new in it – just a skillful bringing together of key themes including the idea that we are seeing a change in the tide of ideas every bit as significant as 1979 and 1997. You can read a PDF of the whole speech here. The most important passage is, I think, the one targeting Labour’s incompetence:
"After ten years in power, it seems they still haven’t mastered that fairly basic requirement of government – running the country competently. The shambles over immigration. The fiasco over prisoner releases. The first run on a bank for over a hundred years. U turns every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This latest shambles over immigration shows exactly why we need a new government. It’s not just because Gordon Brown has no vision for the future. It’s because this government is incompetent. They try to run everything but they can’t actually run anything. Their whole philosophy is about top-down control, but on this vital issue of migration, they’ve lost control. No wonder people are saying it’s time for change."
A reputation for incompetence is, I think, much more politically deadly than a reputation for sleaze. Most voters don’t
have much faith in politicians’ ethics but they hope for basic
competence. If we can destroy Labour’s reputation for competence – and we have more and more ammunition – we have a good chance of finally ending the Brown-Blair years.