Clarke is the Tories’ prize-fighter. Experienced, forthright and unassumingly articulate, voters like him, almost regardless of what he actually says. George Osborne is a different animal. Both Pete and I were impressed (and for different reasons) with his FT article yesterday; but it was largely esoteric. That was the intention, but Osborne has always lacked Clarke’s popular appeal. However, they are beginning to forge a successful partnership.
Details of Tory policy remain imprecise, and will remain so unless they get their hands on the books. But the broad messages, about Brown’s stewardship, the deficit and the need to cut upfront, have regained direction. It is surely more than coincidence that growing clarity on economic issues is accompanied by a poll that places the lead back at 9 percent.