Time Is Running Out for the Tories

Reuters/Leon Neal

Monday brought Labour’s manifesto launch, which was policy-light and therefore tough for Ed Miliband’s opponents to unravel. You can’t really see the party making many gains from suddenly claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility three weeks before the election, having barely addressed their image problem in the last five years.

Strong criticism from the independent IFS was very bad news for Labour, though their strategists will have been delighted that the BBC decided to push it well down the News at Ten.

Tuesday was the turn of the Tories, with their headline announcement on Right to Buy. At least this was actually a policy, and though the BBC did have a bite higher up on the news bulletin, once again attempts to take the manifesto apart fell flat.

Only one winner on Wednesday, as UKIP took advantage of the drab Lib Dem launch with a professional, populist manifesto launch of their own.

All reaching a crescendo at the challengers’ TV debate on Thursday night. David Cameron won’t have felt as if he lost out by not turning up. That said, Miliband did not crumble as optimistic Tories had been hoping, and came out as the clear winner. Not that it will make much difference to the final result.

Minor wins on two out of the four working days of this week’s election campaign mean Labour just about had the better of it. Time is running out for the Tories to pull ahead in the polls, and there is little sign of that happening at the moment.