James Forsyth

Number 10’s flawed plan

Number 10's flawed plan
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Andrew Grice has an interesting column in the Independent today laying out Number 10's plans for an autumn fightback. The six-step strategy is as follows:

"1. Labour will focus on the policy choice between the two main parties because the Tories are more vulnerable on policy than their current opinion poll lead suggests. The Tories are perceived by the public not to have any policies.

2. The focus on Labour's record and future plans will allow it to close the poll gap.

3. As an economic recovery begins, the Government's approach will be seen to have stopped recession turning into depression.

4. Labour must then show how the recovery will be sustained, where the jobs of the future will come from, and how investment in frontline services (health, education and the police) will be protected, while accepting that both efficiency and across-the-board savings are found. (In other words, the Prime Minister should eventually accept the need for spending cuts.)

5. Labour will argue that Britain's future cannot be built without this continued investment, combined with public service reform and a credible plan to reduce future debt without cutting into the fabric of the services that affect people's daily lives.

6. Labour must offer leadership which convinces and inspires, which means focusing on what really matters to the public, offering fewer but more substantial big interventions and a clear policy message."

Now, one can pick holes in every step. But I think the biggest problem for Labour is point six, the public - as the reaction to Brown's Afghan speech demonstrates - have just stopped listening to Brown. One can't imagine him inspiring or leading them now.