Lansons Conversations

Day 4 – Good day – bad day

It was certainly a bad day for twittering Labour candidate Stuart Maclennan, the first casualty of the campaign. There will be more, of course, one way or another and media managers for all three parties will be hoping not to receive any calls from Sunday tabloids in the next day or two. Labour needs strong Sunday press coverage this weekend having been playing communications catch up with the Tories since the PM went to the Palace. Trailing popular extracts from its manifesto, which will be published on Monday, looks their best bet but could be overshadowed by poor Sunday polls. The Tories will themselves want to move the issues on from rows over national insurance and it is a good bet that they may use Sunday to make the case for married couples tax breaks – a clear policy distinction between the main parties. The working week ends with the Tories ahead on the campaigning and communications front. Clegg’s talk is tough and he is inclined to more of a scrap and a willingness to engage in personality politics than was Charles Kennedy and is benefiting from added press exposure. Labour’s campaign picked up as the week went on. These are early days, of course, and how much of this matter in the marginals, where the Tories are still not pulling ahead, is a moot point. The importance of next week for all three parties can’t be underestimated. Reactions to the manifesto launches, election phone-ins, and the electorates verdict on the first televised leaders’ debate will give us a far better steer of where all this is going.