Peter Hoskin

Team Brown playing the same old tunes

Team Brown playing the same old tunes
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The strange thing about last week's TV debate is that, for all its transformative power, it doesn't seem to have changed Labour's campaign strategy in any fundamental way.  Team Brown were hoping for a hung Parliament, and courting the Lib Dems, before last week.  And, as Peter Mandelson demonstrated earlier, they're still doing the same now.  The only difference is that it's more likely their wishes will come true.

But this creates problems for Brown so far as tonight's TV debate and the rest of the election are concerned.  His instinct may well be to repeat the "I agree with Nick" positioning of last week.  But this has already been heavily lampooned - and was batted away quite comprehensively by Clegg the last time he tried it.  And, what's more, if Labour aren't seen to properly combat the Lib Dem tide, then they risk, erm, consolidating their third-place position in the polls - which could, in turn, decrease the likelihood of a LibLab coalition.

If Brown gets the balance wrong tonight, then you can expect that the underwhelming, underperforming nature of Labour's campaign will become a bigger story than it is now.  And rightly so.