David Cameron has just presented a smart Conservative manifesto with a solid speech. He didn’t quite have as much fire in his belly as Ed Miliband did yesterday, but what he did have was a clear sense of purpose, articulated well within the speech and the document.
The document opens by telling any voters who might be reading that the Tories have ‘a plan for every stage of your life’. This might sound a tad menacing, but it is also an attempt to show purpose and present the Tories as a party interested in all voters at every stage of their lives.
The key announcements today were on housing – extending the right-to-buy to housing association tenants and requiring councils to sell off expensive social properties; on childcare – doubling the amount of free childcare available to 30 hours a week; and on taking people on the minimum wage out of income tax. This was a necessary pitch to try to confound the expectations of voters who worry that the Tories are the party of the rich and don’t have the right motives. It included some good emotive language on owning a home.
This was an upbeat manifesto launch. Whether it works depends not just on whether voters like the giveaways but also whether they agree with this sense of life improving, or whether, like Labour, they fret about the quality of the recovery.
You can read the whole manifesto here.