Peter Hoskin

The Tories now have a monopoly on the language of optimism

The Tories now have a monopoly on the language of optimism
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So how big a blow was the news that we're still in recession to Gordon Brown?  Well, compare and contrast his latest podcast on the Downing Street website with David Cameron's article in the Sunday Times. 

Brown's effort is necessarily defensive.  Gone is the "we're leading the world" bombast of a few weeks ago, to be replaced with a crude "pledge" to get the economy growing again by 2010:

"My pledge to you is to make reform of the financial sector a reality, and to see Britain's economy return to growth by the turn of the year."

While Cameron's effort is considerably more agressive, and concentrates on outlining a "pro-growth, pro-enterprise agenda".  The concluding paragraph rather sums up the tone of the piece:

"I know that a vision of growth may seem a long way off in the light of the latest figures showing that we are still in recession. But Britain does have the resources to get there. We have got the people, the ingenuity, the ideas. We just need a government that will help them, not stand in their way."

Comparing the two missives, it's plain to see that one of Brown's chief presentational failures has now been exacerbated.  After being in power for 12 years, he was always going to struggle to sell a message of "hope" and "change" - but, in view of the prolonged downturn, that task is now near impossible for him.  In which case, the Tories now have a monopoly on the language of optimism.