Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Labour prepares for the worst (good news on the economy)

Whether or not he did accidentally suggest that he knew what tomorrow’s GDP figures will be at Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron did have a jolly good point about the way Labour responds to good news on the economy. He told Ed Miliband:

‘It’s only a bad week if you think it’s bad that unemployment’s coming down, it’s only a bad week if you regret inflation coming down… every piece of good news sends that team into a complete decline, well, I can tell him, the good news will keep on coming.’

As Fraser blogged at the weekend, Ed Miliband’s strategy is predicated on the government continually cocking up. It’s not a bad way to work when the Number 10 machine definitely needs an MOT at the very least, but this approach will only have longevity if the next few months bring bad news on the really big issues, as well as those continual hiccups on policy announcements and rows about the behaviour of senior Tory figures. Yesterday’s polling underlined this: the public is worried about George Osborne’s handling of the economy, but not about Andrew Mitchell. Cameron and co could have made enormous bales of political hay out of the good news on employment, inflation and crime last week, but it has only been in the past few days that the Prime Minister managed to get a word in edgeways about these positive signs.

But the news that Britain has come out of recession won’t be quite so low down the news agenda, particularly now Andrew Mitchell has gone and the Prime Minister has dealt with nerves in his own party about prisoner votes.

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