One thing that cash-for-pretty-much-anything has demonstrated – as if we didn’t already know – is that Team Cameron’s feel for how to respond to a public mood is a thousand times better than Team Brown’s. Brown and his advisers seem to have all the political instincts and sureness of touch of an incontinent, narcoleptic rhino.
Another case in point: look at the new party election broadcasts from the two big parties.
To save you from having to watch them, the Tory one is basically: “I’m David Cameron. I like meeting people. Yes, real people. And they like meeting me. We don’t always agree, but that doesn’t matter. That’s not what politics is all about. Aren’t I dashing?” And the Labour one is basically: “David Cameron will beat the living shit out of you.” I’m not kidding.
(Neither dares to mention MPs’ expenses, or indeed the European Parliament or local councils – unless I blinked and missed it – but there you go.)
The logic behind these broadcasts is obvious: the Tories, at a time when people think politicians are nasty, out-of-touch bastards, have chosen to focus exclusively on what all agree is their greatest electoral asset and make him out to be nice and in touch. Labour, on the other hand, at a time when people think politicians are nasty, out-of-touch bastards, have chosen to focus exclusively on what all agree is the Tories’ greatest electoral asset and be nasty about him. Great work, guys.
Actually, the Labour broadcast is worth a bit of a look just to get a flavour of its weird disjointedness.
Brown is far from being the sole cause of Labour’s unpopularity – people were pretty sick of the government before he took over, and his approval ratings are higher then the government’s as a whole – but he’s certainly not helping matters.
Update: It turn out that the Tories have decided to go with a different broadcast - just Cameron, talking to camera, apologising and saying what he's doing about the expenses pile-up. He can't resist lapsing into soundbite a fair bit, but he's at least grasped that the voters are in no mood for any other political subject right now.