The first salvoes of the unofficial election campaign were fired last week, and largely resulted in a draw. Tax and spending formed the key battleground, as the Conservative Party unveiled its 'Great Pretender' poster campaign highlighting the state of Britain's public services (The Independent, 11/1).
Labour questioned the Tories' commitment to investment in public services, and branded their campaign a 'strategic blunder' (The Guardian, 11/1), but lost face as it admitted it would fail to fulfil its five election pledges made in 1997, a confession deemed 'deeply damaging' by the Daily Mail (11/1).
William Hague's claim that the Tories could win the next election was undermined by a prospective Tory candidate's admission that the party was a 'lost cause' (The Guardian, 11/1), while the ripe tomatoes thrown at Tony Blair by protesters guaranteed embarrassing photos for the Prime Minister.
The Daily Telegraph (10/1) diagnosed the week's events as 'imminent election syndrome', which will probably get worse before it gets better.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found at: www.echoResearch.com.