In the last few months, the Tories have--quite deliberately—behaved like an aggressive opposition. They’ve sought to constantly attack Labour, trying to force them onto the back foot.
Even with David Cameron and George Osborne away on holiday, the Tories are determined to keep doing this. On Wednesday, Grant Shapps will launch the Tories’ summer offensive against Labour. He, in the kind of language more commonly used to promote summer horror films than a political agenda, will invite voters ‘to imagine a world where Ed Balls and Ed Miliband end up back in Downing Street.’
This is all part of the Tories’ efforts to link Miliband to Gordon Brown and memories of the last Labour government. Tory strategists know that Miliband does best when he presents himself as a change from both the current coalition government and the last Labour one, so they’re determined to connect him as closely as possible with Gordon Brown in the public’s mind.
Shapps’ speech will be followed by a string of interventions from senior Tories on the three areas where they consider Labour most vulnerable: welfare, immigration and the economy.
Labour is surprisingly quiet for an opposition party at this time of year—they normally try and take advantage of the Commons being in recess to grab hold of the news agenda. But Miliband, who has a big conference speech to work on, needs his shadow Cabinet to start not only returning the Tories’ fire but also landing some hits of their own.