When it comes to manifestos and election posters, editing mistakes can be very expensive.
Although the Labour manifesto makes no new spending pledges, it certainly makes new commitments to spending. In the case of pensions, around £2.1bn to be precise. Read more
Peter Mandelson has delicately washed his hands of last week’s Gene Hunt poster fiasco, which saw Labour compare David Cameron with the iconic detective in Life on Mars with the slogan: “Don’t let him take us back to the eighties.” Read more
When judging this Labour manifesto, one interesting counter-factual is imagining what it would have looked like had brave Gordon Brown called an election in 2007.
Apart from the economic rhetoric and banking measures, the main difference is the total absence of goodies. Santa’s sack would have been a lot more full in 2007. Read more
If you are looking for the headline amid the avalanche of pledges and promises – some significant, many dubious – in Labour’s manifesto it is that the party has rediscovered its faith in social democracy. The thread running through Gordon Brown’s prospectus is that government makes the difference.
My doubts lie in the balance between supportive (“active” in Peter Mandelson’s favourite phrase) and suffocating government. Labour has it broadly right on the economy and mostly wrong on the shape of public services. Read more
Lord Mandelson has just described the manifesto as “Blair plus”. But how radical is it? We have trawled through the document (70 pages of it) and have found a few new policies and a few old ones dressed up to look new. Read more
The podcasts will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.
I ran into a Tory frontbencher about a week ago who said he had had been asked to go through his department with a fine toothcomb to find potential savings which could be made after the general election.
I asked if he had seen John Redwood’s blog suggesting that cuts of 10 per cent could be instigated without too much pain. He replied that he had got close to that number without too much difficulty.
We didn’t write it up as a news story because it seemed like an obvious and sensible thing for the Conservatives to be doing.
The FT house view is that politicians would be better off coming clean about the deficit – and need for sweeping departmental cuts – rather than dancing around on the head of a national insurance pin. In private, Labour and the Tories alike must be drawing up the slide rule over which programmes, benefits or salary bills to cut and when: surely?
Don’t expect the manifesto from either party to recognise this, however. The troops are still in their trenches; the real fiscal war hasn’t happened yet. Read more
Labour say not: the premises are still owned by the company that built them. Is that a good excuse? Surely it’s either an NHS hospital or it’s not.
The Tories say have invoked “Cabinet Office General Election Guidance 2010″, page 38:
’1. Neither Ministers, nor any other Parliamentary candidates, should involve Government establishments or offices (such as Jobcentres) in the General Election campaign by visiting them for electioneering purposes.
’2. In the case of NHS property, decisions are for the relevant NHS Trust but should visits be permitted to, for example, hospitals, the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive advise that there should be no disruption to services and the same facilities should be available to other candidates. In any case, it is advised that Election meetings should not be permitted on NHS premises’. Read more
The debates don’t happen until Thursday – we will be live blogging – but I have already seen Friday’s headlines in the FT Westminster crystal ball. These are the pundits’ shock conclusions:
The Guardian Read more