James Forsyth

The Tories’ campaign is sharpening up

The Tories' campaign is sharpening up
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As declaration day (the rather pompus name that news organisations have come up with for the moment when Gordon Brown actually calls the election) draws nearer, the Tory campaign is sharpening up. This morning’s operation on National Insurance was impressive, enabling the party to get a second set of headlines out of its plan to stop Labour’s National Insurance rise.

The letter from 23 business leaders supporting the Tory position worked on several levels. First, it got the Tories’ tax cut back on the top of the news agenda along with its clear message: seven out of ten workers will be better off under the Conservatives. Second, it strengthened the Tory case that the risk to the economy is to increase the tax on jobs not cutting government waste. Finally, the problem for politicians in this anti-politics age is that voters aren’t inclined to believe what they say. But these business leaders who run companies people have heard of — Sainsburys, Mother Care, Marks and Spencer — are credible to the public and so their support will result in voters being more inclined to believe what the Tories say about National Insurance.