Editorial: Politics of 'Meddle' England
You probably didn't listen to Gordon Brown's big speech from the Labour Party conference.
It lasted for more than a Brown-hour and, with speculation that it would be used to call an early general election quashed beforehand, anyone could be forgiven for waiting for the edited highlights of a speech that, as promised, outlined the new prime minister's vision for Britain.
Now the Labour conference is over and the Conservatives' has just begun, election fever is being fuelled by double-digit poll leads for Labour that even the most prudent politician would find hard to resist. 'David Cameron's Conservative Party', as it now appears to be described, is putting a brave, but slightly bloodied, face on proceedings and demanding a snap election - as though the idea or eventual election date has anything to do with them.
For advertisers, these are dangerous times, full of policy promises that are rushed and rash. This week from Blackpool we will hear a raft of far-reaching and headline-grabbing policies from the Conservatives as they try to win back voters and political territory lost to Labour over three successive terms of government.
The Conservatives' tactics are those of a challenger brand. Trailing by 11%, according to the latest Daily Telegraph/YouGov poll, the promises, however dramatic, of a party unable to act on them could be regarded as a trifling matter.
But to ignore the positionings and posturing of the Conservatives would be a mistake. It has already been observed that Brown is determined not to be out-Thatchered by the Conservatives under Cameron. For that reason, any Conservative policy, and particularly those designed to put fire in the belly of reactionary middle England, is fair game for Labour to make its own. …