Alex Deane, Head of Public Affairs at Weber Shandwick, dropped by the office for a quick coffee yesterday and shed some fascinating light on how key issues of the day are playing out in Westminster.
It has been a rotten month for the Tory brand. News that the UK has entered a double dip recession is a particularly nasty blow for George Osborne. The only saving grace for him is that his economic policies have, over the past years, largely been backed by most of the press and have been lent credibility by a positive reaction from the bond markets. In other words, it’s not just him who has made a mistake. However, if the next quarter also shows disappointing figures, he will be in real trouble.
Things have been equally miserable for Jeremy Hunt. Widely tipped as a rising star in British politics, he now needs to show he can handle the pressures of political scandal. This is his first real political test, and if he can’t take it it’s better for the Tories – and arguably the nation – that he realises it before he is appointed to a higher position.
Today is election day, and it is worth noting that Boris Johnson’s campaign to be re-elected London Mayor has rather conspicuously shed the Tory brand, focusing instead solely on his own personality. Even a resounding endorsement from David Cameron was treated ambivalently by the Boris camp. That just about sums up a pretty miserable few weeks for the Conservatives.