Well if the election campaign started today, I'm a Dutchman. The media has got terribly excited by it all, but there is no way any political party can keep this up for four months, and if they even try people will be so bored by it, turnout is likely to be an all time low. But having said all that, I do think David Cameron has stolen a march on Labour since Christmas. The Tories managed to dominate the political news agenda between Christmas and the New Year and the campaign launches on Saturday and today have totally exclipsed the two other parties. Labour decided they would try to get in on the act with Alistair Darling but it was all a bit half hearted. Darling looked and talked as if he was going through the motions.
When I was on 5 Live earlier, former Number 10 Communications Director Dave Hill said Labour's strategy would be to contrast Brown's record with Cameron's lack of experience and to play up the economic credentials of Gordon Brown. No vision, no exciting new policies, nothing. Just anti Conservative negativity is not going to get Labout through a four month election campaign, and if that is the Brown/Balls strategy I just cannot see it working.
The danger for the Conservatives is to show too much policy ankle too soon. The higher up the political leg they go, the more chance there is of Labour cherrypicking the policies they like and having ample opportunity to slag off those that they don't. Maybe the risk is worth it. Because if it is the Conservatives who are the ones with a constant fizz of fresh, new ideas and policies, the electorate will cotton on to the fact that all Labour can do is slag them off.
And it is also in the Conservatives interest for Brown-Cameron comparisons to be made. Polls show that Cameron comes off best every time.
Now I know Twitter is not exactly a yardstick to measure much by, but according to Tweetminster, people have been twittering twice as much about the Conservative launch today than they have about Darling's utterings. It would be interesting for them to make that comparison every day.