Peter Hoskin

The Tories dust off their baseball bats

The Tories dust off their baseball bats
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Is it just me, or have the Tories developed a slightly harder edge in the couple of days since the Pre-Budget Report?  We had an unusually acidic address from David Cameron yesterday, in which he likened Brown 'n' Darling to "joy-riders in a car smashing up the neighbourhood," and criticised the PBR for its "irresponsibility, basic deceit and complete lack of moral principle".  There have been a couple of quite powerful attack posters from CCHQ.  And now we've got George Osborne saying that Brown may have "betrayed the responsibilities of the office he holds."

"So what?" you say, "they're the Opposition – it's their job to oppose."  Well, yes, of course.  But that opposition seems to have been concentrated over the past few days.  So much so, in fact, that it smacks of a new strategy on the Tories' part: the kind of baseball-bats-at-the-ready approach which Iain Martin advocated back in March.  Good thing, I'd say.

Don't get me wrong: the Tories still need to do more to set out a positive agenda which will appeal to voters on the doorstep.  Getting to Downing St on an "anyone but Gordon" ticket isn't enough for the kind of far-reaching mandate the next government will require.  But it's always struck me how lackadaisical the Tories have been, in the past, in allowing Brown to call all the shots on the economy.  Anything which deals with that failing has to be considered progress – and doubly so if it goes hand in hand with genuinely bold opposition to some of the proposals set out in Wednesday's Budget report.