Peter Hoskin

A tale of two interviews

A tale of two interviews
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So, at the end of a hyperactive week in politics, we've got a pair of interviews with Brown and Cameron.  The PM chats with the News of the World, while Cameron appeared on the Marr sofa earlier.

One general similarity between the two interviews stands out: neither is particularly confrontational. Rather than chiding Labour after Alistair Darling's admission yesterday, Cameron adopted a more conciliatory tone, saying things like: "If [the government] ... set out reductions that we think make sense we won’t play politics with it, we’ll say yes."  And, for his part, Brown only nods towards the "big choice" to be made at this year's election, and doesn't mention the Tories once.  Quite rare that, for Gordon.

After his New Year message, all this is to be expected from Cameron.  The Tory leadership are keen to present themselves as statesmen above the fray of political tittle-tattle.  But what about Brown?  Dividing lines are his modus, so why doesn't he weave them here?  Part of it will be because he's on the back foot after this week's attempted coup.  But you wonder whether it's also because his Cabinet colleagues have succeeded in curbing his class war.  Time, and the course of the election campaign, will tell.

As for the specifics, Brown rabbits on about "determination" and Nelson Mandela – but the most noteworthy part is this confirmation that Sarah Brown will feature heavily in Labour's campaign:

"Glamorous Sarah will be thrust into the election limelight after Labour chiefs identified her as the PM's greatest asset. She has redrawn her diary so she can be constantly at her husband's side during the hectic four-week run-in to polling day."

While the take-home point from Cameron is probably that he wants to reduce net immigration to the "tens of thousands," rather than the hundreds of thousands.

Anyway, the first week of the long, long election campaign is over.  It's been a topsy-turvy few days – but, on the evidence of this morning, Cameron has come out of it by far the stronger.  CCHQ has Agents Hoon and Hewitt to thank for that.