STRATEGI | Storbritannien går till val i maj 2015. Men redan nu kan vi se hur partierna förbereder sig inför valrörelsen.
Alla tecken tyder på att nästa val kommer att bli än mer presidentlikt än förra.
Conservative Party har insett att så länge som David Cameron inger större förtroende bland väljarna än övriga partiledare är det naturligt att se premiärministern som sin största strategiska tillgång.
Så länge som han är (relativt) populärare än huvudmotståndarna Nick Clegg och Ed Miliband framstår det som ett naturligt vägval.
Men att framhäva Cameron i tid och otid fungerar naturligtvis bara så länge han inte begår några större politiska misstag.
Oavsett vilket är skulle det vara svårt att inte bygga upp valrörelsen kring premiärministern när partiet innehar posten. (Vi kommer knappast se Moderaterna tona ner Fredrik Reinfeldt inför valet. Snarare tvärt om.)
James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, skriver:
The outlines of the Tory campaign are already visible. One thing that stands out is that it will rely on David Cameron even more than it did at the last election. Some will question the wisdom of this, pointing out that the big billboard posters of him in 2010 backfired badly. Others will wonder what more there is to say about Cameron given that by 2015 he’ll have been leading the party for nearly ten years. But in Downing Street they are unmoved by these arguments. To their minds, the party would be mad not to rely on him given that he polls 18 points ahead of it.
People in the Liberal Democrat constituencies that the Conservatives need to take are going to hear a Cameron-centred message again and again. The emphasis will be that Tory candidates can offer what Liberal Democrat MPs cannot: a vote for them is a vote for Cameron to be returned to No. 10.
It is already apparent how the Lib Dems will respond to this Conservative approach. They’ll claim that without them, this would have been a government of the super-rich for the super-rich. One Lib Dem Cabinet minister told me recently, with visible excitement, that he has a drawer in his desk where he puts every potentially unpopular idea proposed by Conservatives. At the next election, he says, he’s going to take them all out and say to people if it wasn’t for us, you’d all have been fired at will and the rich would have had all the tax cuts. They’ll also argue that, without them, Cameron would have been held hostage by his ‘tea-party’ tendency. They’ll take the most outlandish statements made by Conservative MPs — putting all benefit claimants on food stamps, reintroducing Section 28 and the rest — and claim that Cameron would have been forced into doing this if he was governing with his party alone.
Those around Ed Miliband dispute the idea that the Conservatives are really that confident about their leader’s appeal, pointing to Tory scepticism about televised leaders’ debates. They also emphasise that Cameron’s popularity is about half what it was when Miliband became Labour leader.
The irony of the Cameroons continuing reliance on Cameron is that it is an admission of failure. If they had genuinely succeeded in changing voters’ perceptions of the party, they wouldn’t have to rely on the leader so much. But that is where they are and the reason why the next campaign will be the most presidential yet.
Bild: David Cameron – Getty Images.