David Cameron's New Year message (and his accompanying Times op-ed) is an upbeat call to stick with the Tories to get the job done. He writes of his desire to 'turn Britain into the flagship post-Great Recession success story. A country that is on the rise'. And in his video message he focuses on the signs that the country is already rising.
Downing Street is keen to stress that this message is no Blair/Brown-style relaunch of the government with a shiny new logo and a plan. It is the Prime Minister trying to encourage optimism about Britain's best days lying ahead of it, but that 'recovery is real, but it’s also fragile'.
All three party leaders face challenges this year, but the challenge that Cameron sets for Ed Miliband in this message, and particularly his Times piece, where he refers to 'increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free fall' in countries that are following Labour's line of economic thinking, is who can offer voters the most upbeat vision for after 2015. Those who argue that Ed Miliband had a good 2013 use his effective work as leader of the opposition in disrupting and unsettling the current government as evidence. But he knows that while the Tories will spend the next year and five months asking voters to let them finish the job, Labour needs to offer an encouraging vision of the sort of job it could do as a government, rather than as an effective troublesome opposition.