James Forsyth

Why the Tories started with health

Why the Tories started with health
Text settings

The Tories today rolled out the first section of their manifesto this morning, the chapter on health. The reason the Tories started with their plans for the NHS, as they did when setting out their priorities for government last autumn, is quite simple: the leadership thinks that every time Cameron talks about health the party goes up in the polls.

Certainly, one of the achievements of Cameron’s leadership has been to cancel out Labour’s traditional advantage on the question of who is most trusted on the NHS; Labour’s lead on this question has been a statistically insignificant one percent in the last two polls on the subject according to Anthony Wells of the indispensable UK Polling Report.

This has been achieved at a cost of not saying or proposing anything on health that might frighten the horses. But having made this trade off, the leadership is determined to get full value out of it.