James Forsyth

Tomorrow could be a turning point for the Tories

Tomorrow could be a turning point for the Tories
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The number of polls showing the Tories below forty percent are causing some heartburn for the Tory leadership. When the first poll came out showing the Tory lead down, there was a feeling that this wasn’t all bad, that it would help remind the party that the election isn’t in the bag. But there is now mounting concern at Tory slippage, this is being reinforced by the fact that the party’s own research shows the same trends.

Today’s leader in The Times, a paper which is normally editorially supportive of the leadership, was another unhelpful development. Newspaper editorials don’t move popular opinion but they do still influence the prism through which politics is reported and having The Times declare that “we still await a clear, unambiguous and compelling case for a Conservative government” has added to the sense that the Tories lack an overall message.

But tomorrow offers the Tories a chance to turn attention back to the shocking state of the public finances. The Tories should hammer the point that this country has been the first in and the last out of recession of the major economies because of the policy errors of the last decade or so. But more than that, they must begin to talk about their own growth agenda. How they will get the country out of the mess it is in. That would be a message that combined truth-telling and hope.