Tuesday’s media hit for Cameron was successful in obliterating from the front pages the speech given by Darling intended to revise the Labour Party’s Balls/Brown narrative on “Cuts v Spending”. It was by all accounts a very close run thing.
Having got wind of the expected Darling announcement there was a bit of flap at CCHQ. Late on Monday afternoon CCHQ lined up party activists to be in the audience for a hastily arranged 11.00 the next day speech by Cameron focusing on the deliberately headline grabbing issue of cutting spending on politics. That speech was originally not due to be given until a later date. Alan Duncan however was an embarrassment that became pressing in the context of the brought forward speech, so he had to go, fast. The final decision to give him the bullet was made there and then.
Result: Cameron’s mere £120 million of promised cuts led the Ten O’Clock news and grabbed the front pages away from Darling’s in some ways far more fiscally significant change in direction of the spending supertanker. Darling’s announcement was no match televisually for Sam Cam breakfasting with Nick Robinson. Cameron dominated the headlines and Darling’s major change of position was relegated to the inside pages and became the second story on BBC news.
Game, set and match to the Tory spin machine…