Sebastian Payne

Campaign kick-off: 30 days to go

Campaign kick-off: 30 days to go
Text settings

With the Easter break now over, the general election campaign will notch up a gear today as the political parties try to make the most of the last month of campaigning. To help guide you through the melée of stories and spin, we’ll be posting a summary every morning of the main events so you know what to expect from the day ahead.

1. Blair’s back — again

After a series of cryptic interviews in which he appeared to complain about the direction of the Labour Party, Tony Blair has gone loyal for the campaign. The Guardian reports that the former Prime Minister will be speaking in his old Sedgefield constituency — alongside his wife Cherie — to warn of the ‘chaos’ David Cameron’s EU referendum would cause. Blair will argue that Ed Miliband has shown ‘real leadership on the EU’ and that ‘he is own man with his own convictions and determined to follow them, even when they go against the tide.’ Given the recent controversy over his donations to marginal seats, some in Labour will be wondering if this invention is helpful, while the Tories will be wishing they had a three-time election winning PM to up the ante.

2. Come home kippers, all is forgiven

David Cameron has pleaded with Ukip supporters to return to the Tory fold. In an interview with the Telegraph today, the Prime Minister said he has heard their concerns ‘loud and clear’ and it’s time for the kippers to ‘come home’ in order to ‘avert the danger of a Labour government’. The days of calling them fruitcakes and loonies are long over but does this intervention show the Tories still aren’t clued up on Ukip? As co-author of Revolt on the Right Rob Ford points out, 40 per cent of Ukip voters didn’t vote Conservative in 2010 and half of those who did vote didn’t vote for Cameron. But even if some of those disgruntled kippers returned, it would give the Tories a little more room to breathe in key marginals.

3. 30 days to save Britain

Cameron is undertaking a whistle stop tour of the United Kingdom today, starting this sunny Tuesday in Scotland, before heading to Northern Ireland, Wales and England before he heads home for tea. With 30 days to go, ITV News reports that the PM will say ‘we have one month to save our economy from the disaster of an Ed Miliband government…one month to save Britain from his mountain of debt; one month to save Britain from his punitive taxes; one month to save Britain, and British families, from his anti-business and anti-aspiration agenda.’ Another cheerful message from the Conservatives, then, but one that again paints this election as a straight fight between the ‘competence’ of Cameron vs. the ‘choas’ of Miliband.

4. 30 days to save the NHS

The Saatchis must be doing a roaring trade: as well as a new series of posters for the Tories, they’re providing inspiration for Team Miliband, who have released a new poster riffing off the classic ‘Labour isn’t working’ slogan from 1979. As Labour’s campaign director Spencer Livermore (one of the many) tweeted last night, ‘the NHS under the Tories is going backwards. With Labour there will be 8,000 new GPs & a 48 hr appointment guarantee'. Who said the election had descended into stereotypes?

— Spencer Livermore (@SpenceLivermore) April 6, 2015

5. The Scotland debate

While Nicola Sturgeon has been conquering all in her sight, it’s time for her to debate on home territory. This evening on STV at 8pm, the SNP leader will go head to head with Labour’s Jim Murphy, the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie, leader of Scottish Liberal Democrats. Murphy is now desperately appealing to disaffected Scottish voters, extolling the virtues of a Miliband government over voting SNP out of apathy or cynicism. But despite his warnings, it may be too late to convince Scots that a Labour government propped up by Sturgeon won't deliver the best deal for Scotland. Be sure to buy some popcorn on your way home for Murphy vs. Sturgeon.