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The battlelines for the political debate over the coming year will be drawn on Monday when Alistair Darling delivers his pre-budget report.

Bookies have cut the odds on a 2009 general election over the last 24 hours, although I am still of the view that a snap contest is highly unlikely – and that is a point of view which Ben Brogan from the Daily Mail is also backing up.

Nonetheless, the Tory campaign will be ratcheted up a notch or two next week and Martha Kearney from Radio 4’s World at One programme is claiming an exclusive in the WATO email newsletter which has just arrived in my inbox:

"Westminster will be showered by bombshells on Monday. No, I haven’t been watching too many episodes of Spooks. The Conservatives will be blitzing Labour in a new campaign with a distinctively retro feel. In 1992 the party’s tax bombshell poster and election broadcast had a devastating impact on Labour. Who came up with the idea? Why, David Cameron’s current head of strategy Steve Hilton who was then a young whizzkid at Saatchi and Saatchi."

Jonathan Isaby

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