ANALYSIS: LBC's Theo Usherwood sums up day one of the election campaign

6 November 2019, 19:24

Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

The 2019 general election campaign got underway in dramatic style on Wednesday with the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all laying out their plans.

On the face of it, today has been another bad day for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.

The Tory leader delivered his lines outside Number 10 with a simple message - Parliament has stood in his way of "getting Brexit done."

Despite "not wanting" an early election, Mr Johnson explained how Parliament is "paralysed" and the only way of breaking the "three-and-a-half year" deadlock would be by heading to the polls.

He claimed that with a healthy Commons majority the Conservatives would be the only party that can deliver Brexit and prevent the Tory chief from "chewing" his "own tie in frustration."

But beyond that, the Conservative message so far has been lacking.

On the economy, the party claims it can provide strong public service demonstrated by its prudent management of the purse strings over the last nine years.

Mr Johnson compared Labour's Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin
Mr Johnson compared Labour's Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson compared Jeremy Corbyn to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, arguing the Labour leader would seize voters’ wealth in the same way as the Communist tyrant who murdered 700,000 in Kulaks and put a further 1.8 million in Labour camps.

Today, Mr Corbyn channelled his inner Michelle Obama, telling an audience in Telford, Shropshire: "When they go low, we go high. When they go lower, we go higher."

But more pertinently, Corbyn has a message that millions are living in a capitalist economy that they feel does not work for them.

So far, the Conservatives have failed to announce any policies that actually deal with that, whether it be on housing or the cost of living.

Jacob Rees-Mogg was criticised for his Grenfell comments
Jacob Rees-Mogg was criticised for his Grenfell comments. Picture: LBC

We of course do not know yet about the effect on public opinion of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s "common sense" comments about the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Similarly, the decision by the Tories to doctor video footage of Labour’s Keir Starmer appearing dumbfounded at questions about his party’s Brexit policy.

Adding to that headache he was faced with the resignation of one of his Cabinet members, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, amid claims the minister knew about a former aide’s role in the "sabotage" of a rape trial.

We are still five weeks away from polling day, and as the old adage goes "a week is a long time in politics."

But one thing is certain, the Conservatives need an uptick in their campaign if they are to avoid a repeat of 2017.