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Friday, October 02, 2009 

Scum-watch: It begins.

Splashed across yesterday's Sun front page were those ordinary voters who like the paper had decided that Labour's lost it. Alongside those who would blame the government if it rains was one Ros Altmann, a former adviser to Tony Blair and now a governor at the LSE. The Sun's report of her comments was thus:

I thought we had a chance to make a difference. But Brown wanted people to spend, spend, spend and thought that will generate growth. That is not the way economics work. We needed radical change. But we got radical complications. We have the world's lowest state pension, but also the most complex. I am hopeful for David Cameron. I don't think he can make a worse mess of pensions. I can see why The Sun supports him.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Tories, but Hugh Muir in the Grauniad Diary has more:

For sure, the economist has strong criticism of the pensions and economics polices pursued by Gordon. But there it ends. "What I said to them in answer to the specific question: 'Do I now support the Tories?' was 'No'," she tells us. "I said I don't know what their policies are so I can't support them. I said I can understand that some people no longer support Labour. There has been a bit of poetic licence here." Such is war.

And as could have been predicted, David Cameron today gives the paper an interview, unveiling 10 pledges, all naturally Sun-pleasing and many also naturally counter-productive or just wrong-headed. Reassessing every person on incapacity benefit? Stupidly wasteful in both time and cost terms. Replacing the Human Rights Act with a piss-poor "British" bill of rights substitute when the Tories almost certainly won't withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights will just delay justice. And as for reforming inheritance tax to "encourage saving", words fail me. One new one, although not included on the 10 pledges itself, is that Cameron will institute a "war cabinet" on Afghanistan should the Tories come to power, something demanded by the Sun only a few weeks back. It doesn't seem to matter that such a cabinet would be pointless when it's the military and not the politicians who are helming the fighting, but then the Sun has always loved symbolism far more than well thought out and implementable strategy.

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