Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.
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This is the kind of silly political argument that voters so strongly dislike, as it makes all politicians look dishonest.
What I would love to see tomorrow is for either Mr Blair to admit that rising violent crime is a problem, or for Mr Howard to congratulate Mr Blair on the falls in crime in other areas. If Mr Howard took this course of action, it’d blow the wind out of Mr Blair’s attacking sails, and also give Mr Howard a greater sense of credibility among voters, who are intelligent enough to know that statistics like these can’t be boiled down to “Crime getting worse” or “Crime getting better”.
It wouldn’t work so well for Mr Blair, because he seems so manipulative and arrogant, and wouldn’t be able to make a statement like this without adding ‘…but it’s not nearly as bad as under the party opposite’, probably making a direct reference to Mr Howard’s time as Home Secretary, too.
If I was on Mr Howard’s staff, I’d have him doing the above, and also asking a question along the lines of ‘Does the Prime Minister feel that Members who have misled Parliament should resign and stay out of Government?’. Which would be very damaging to the ‘whiter-than-white’ Prime Minister, as he wouldn’t be able to answer ‘yes’, as he has so many once-retired ministers in his Cabinet. With the right follow-ups, Mr Howard could do some serious damage… but, come tomorrow, I bet he won’t.