The answer is quite simple. There is an election around the corner and the Tories have been panicked into revealing their hand early, although it is not the hand that Cameron ever intended to play.
The reason why the Conservative representatives cheered George Osborne to the rafters was because all that green liberal nonsense had been dumped in favour of tax cuts. And not tax cuts for the poor, but tax cuts for the super-rich paid for by the mega-rich.
Even now only 6 per cent of us pay inheritance tax, so it is understandable that enthusiasm for raising the threshold to £1 million was not greeted with the same enthusiasm outside the Blackpool Winter Gardens. How many readers of The Sun will benefit? Probably only the editor.
The Tories certainly succeeded in grabbing the headlines on tax, but the big problem for them is that even the most sympathetic supporters know the sums simply don’t add up. We have £6 billion in tax cuts so far with probably more to come, but are the British public stupid enough to think that you can get something for nothing? I think not.
The tax policies look a bit like they were thought out in the Imperial Hotel bar the night before, which is not that surprising.
Like everyone else, the Tories thought they had at least another year to plan for the election and would have wanted to announce policies well in advance to implant them firmly in the voters’ minds.
Having moved his party towards the centre, Cameron has now done the same as every other leader under New Labour and lurched to the right. This will firm up the core Tory vote, but it will not win an election. However, talk of an early election has united the troops in Blackpool – for now.
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown still holds all the aces. The Prime Minister can speak on issues such as Iraq and blow coverage of the Tories out of the water.
With the Tories having to show their hand so early, Brown and his team are working day and night figuring out how to attack them. He has the advantage of having been in charge of three successful election campaigns. He also has Douglas Alexander – who is possibly the best political strategist in the UK – at his side.
Many of us can’t remember the last time an election was called so unexpectedly, so people in comms will be watching with even greater interest. Let the battle commence.