No room for complacency, Prime Minister
Whatever you think of Labour leader Ed Miliband's proposal to freeze energy bills, it must be acknowledged that he has without doubt achieved one key objective – shifting the political agenda away from recent signs of economic improvement and onto the steady decline in living standards.
Of course, David Cameron has the platform in Manchester this week and with it an opportunity to seize back the initiative from Mr Miliband. But the Tory party leader knows he has work to do. Mr Miliband's Labour may yet prove to be a powerful adversary at the next election, having positioned themselves where they traditionally feel most comfortable – on the side of the struggling many. At the same time, they are back on the narrative they enjoy most – casting the Conservatives as those posh-boy, Eton-educated toffs who are just out for themselves and their multimillionaire friends.
Given that the first part of Labour's interpretation of the state of the nation is clearly true – inflation has outpaced wages near-consistently since 2007 – the second element therefore is doubly potent. Clearly, Mr Cameron's priority in his conference speech this coming week must be to prove it wrong.
We would urge the Prime Minister to take Labour's threat seriously. Indeed, the greatest risk he faces is complacency – and he has been known to succumb to it in the past. With genuine signs of green shoots in the economy at last, there will be plenty of self-congratulation in Manchester, without a doubt. George Osborne in particular will want to reassert his credentials at the Treasury after a difficult period where he was urged to put the brakes on his austerity programme.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
But the Conservatives must tread carefully. Too much showboating could irritate an electorate yet to see any demonstrable improvement in their standard of living after five years of cuts and deprivations.
Furthermore, the complacent assumption that Labour could never get back in because Mr Miliband is unelectable is a dangerous one. Things are not as they were when Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot were rejected by the voters.
In particular, the UK Independence Party remains a thorn in the Tories' side that has yet to be removed. Many Conservative votes appear destined for Ukip in 2015 unless Mr Cameron's leadership improves.