There is still a year and a half to go, but the 2013 party conference season might be remembered as the moment the 2015 general election campaign unofficially got underway. Last week, Ed Miliband delivered a speech to the Labour faithful that was in equal parts personal and analytical – yet he made sure reports focused on his headline-grabbing policy announcement on freezing energy prices. Miliband clearly intends to make 2015 the “cost of living” election.
The Conservatives know that they cannot compete on this territory, having presided over a period when living standards have fallen in 38 of the 39 months the coalition has been in office. But in his speech to the Conservative conference, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outlined what will surely be his party’s central message to the electorate in 2015: scrounger-bashing.
This is the underlying intent of the “Help to Work” scheme he announced this week.
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