'Sunny Cameron' is set to return in 2010 according to The Daily Mail.
The switch of emphasis comes as the Tory opinion poll lead has narrowed. Some Tory strategists are blaming the austerity message, ignoring the very clear evidence that it was the Europe policy announcement that began the softening in Tory support. Harriet Harman's depiction of Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne as the Brothers Grimm has unsettled the Conservatives.
"The next stage," Mr Cameron tells The Mail's Tim Shipman, "is to explain some of the opportunities we have. There is a bright future. There is light at the end of the tunnel."
From the new year the Tories plan an energetic campaign:
- David Cameron will make three trips every week to marginal constituencies, reports Tim Shipman.
- The Times says a draft manifesto will be launched on 4th January as part of a "policy-a-day blitz throughout January". "Andy Coulson, the party’s director of communications," reports The Times, "has asked Shadow Cabinet ministers to “find new angles” on existing policies to generate media coverage, according to insiders."
- A number of appointments are to be made at CCHQ to strengthen the team. One is, as we reported last night, the welcome return of George Bridges.
The Tories also plan to attack Labour's links with the unions. The FT has the story:
"The party has been stung by Labour’s repeated criticism of Conservatives’ links to millionaires and City figures and the Eton schooling of many of its MPs. In retaliation, the Tories are poised to step up their criticism of Labour’s reliance on Britain’s largest unions – and accuse it of a “lurch to the left”. Eric Pickles, chairman of the Tory party, told the FT that Gordon Brown had become “subservient” to the “union barons”. “Day by day, the unions are tightening their grip to become the life-support machine of the Labour party,” he said. “The prime minister’s dependence on them leaves him utterly incapable of making the right decisions for the country.”
Giving the attack roles to Chris Grayling and to Eric Pickles frees up David Cameron for his 'light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel' message. It also remains important that George Osborne does not lead the party's attacks on Labour. He needs to behave more and more as the Chancellor-in-waiting.