Peter Hoskin

What a difference the start of a campaign makes

What a difference the start of a campaign makes
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In last week's Chancellor's debate, Vince Cable refused to rule out raising VAT to help fix the public finances.  Now, only a few days later, the Lib Dems are pledging not to do that.  What's more, they're saying that the Tories' plans require a raise in VAT.  And they've even got a 'VAT bombshell' poster to drive the message home.

There's more than a dash of Brownite politics about this - the same seasoning I detected in the Tories' Death Tax poster.  Sure, there have been rumblings that the Tories will raise VAT.  But Osborne & Co. have denied that this is necessarily the case in recent days, and it's certainly not current Tory policy.  So the Lib Dems are effectively spinning a lie, and attacking that lie.

You could say that that's what election campaigns are all about.  That we've got to expect a little bit of rough 'n' tumble.  But I still find it kinda dispiriting.