James Forsyth

The death tax ads are the sort of hardball politics the Tories should play

The death tax ads are the sort of hardball politics the Tories should play
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I must admit to rather liking the Tory death tax ads. They are the kind of hardball aggressive politics that the Tories need to master if they are going to win this election. Are they dishonest? Well, I think in the grand political scheme of things they qualify as fair: Brown won't rule this out and it is definitely an option Labour is considering so it is fair game. If this attack is out of bounds, then so is most of the dossier Labour produced on Tory spending plans at the beginning of the year.

The other thing that really infuriates me about this whole debate is the idea that the responsible thing to have done would have been for the three main parties to hammer out some compromise deal and then just present it to the public. How we pay and provide care for an aging population should be a matter of vigorous debate and discussion not sorted by a stitch up.

The Tories did, though, turn up to meetings between the three health secretaries which tried to find a consensus. But Tory sources are saying that Lansley has always made clear on these occasions that the Tories would never sign up to a straight levy or to taking away disability benefits form. In other words, Lansley has not reneged on any deal.