Sunday, October 07, 2007

A week really is a long time in politics

The past week has proven that a week really is a long time in politics. Last week the Sunday papers were speculating about the demise of the Tory party, bets were being placed on Cameron's likely successor. A week later and... well the least said the better.

Brown will take a hit or two (or twenty) and his reputation as a master political strategist has been damaged. However I do think that we all need to calm down a bit and recognise that things can - and probably will - change just as quickly. The polls will stabilise and we will soon get back to 'normal' politics.

For me there are some key lessons that, as a party, we need to learn from the past few weeks:

1. Don't underestimate Cameron - the more media coverage he receives the more favourable the polls are for the Tory party as a whole.

2. We need to be careful about the image we project. At times I worry that some Labour Ministers conduct themselves as though they are taking part in a sixth form debating society and want to demonstrate how fiendishly clever they are, how they can 'best' their opposite number who is also a bright young thing. Being bright and being clever are not the same thing and we need our senior Ministers to be clever as well as bright.

3. Candidate selection should be completed for all vacant seats by early spring and we need to have a much sharper focus on exactly how we resource and campaign in marginal seats.

We have lost this skirmish - it was not really a battle - we now need to re-group and look to the future.

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