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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
The Campaign Today with Nick Robinson
Everyone's getting geared up for the day after tomorrow. No-one more so than Nick Robinson.
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They've let him out! Last night's Tory party broadcast at last featured none other than William Jefferson Hague - previously unseen but the man's voice is only heard for eight seconds.
In America the spin doctors market research their candidate's most and least sellable features so as to play up the former and play down the latter. Could they be doing the same here?
So, the Thunderer's backed Labour for the first time in its long history, joining the Economist and the FT.
No real surprise there but intriguing nevertheless to see the reasons these Big Beasts of the Establishment give for backing New Labour.
They're the consolidators of Thatcherism, explains The Times whereas The Economist praises Tony Blair as "the only credible conservative currently available".
This, at the same time, that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown claim to be putting Thatcherism to rest once and for all by winning an argument for more public spending at a time of increased taxes. Who's right about a second Labour term - if there is one - will define the politics of the next decade.
I wonder if New Labour really marks such a break from Thatcherism - the Tories, believe it or not, did make big increases in spending on health - more than 3% per year in real terms - though it didn't do the trick.
That's a figure which Labour have yet to match though they'll easily exceed it if re-elected and if the economy stays strong. (The Tories were, it's true, much meaner with education and transport.)
The Tories also tried decentralisation and involving the private sector more in the running of public services. Will it work this time?
Kremlinologists are studying Michael Portillo's words with care. More praise for William Hague's leadership today plus an expressed desire to "be associated" with his campaign.
A fascinating reflective moment too when the shadow chancellor declared that he was "very very proud" of his manifesto and said that whatever his party's vices "we've addressed people as adults".
Was he, maybe, preparing the way to declare that Hague should stay leader on Friday and that he would not run for Tory leader?
A belated Happy Birthday to Labour's Prize Fighter John Prescott who turned 63 last week.
His speech writing team in London had a present waiting for him this week - an ostrich egg decorated with a cartoon image of his now famous and, it seems, fondly remembered left hook.
Growing signs of Tony Blair's irritation with media questioning - why are we asking about this or that? Why aren't we asking about "the people's priorities" which are - coincidentally - of course his election themes.
Last night when Mr Blair tried correcting the line of questioning in his interview on Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman suggested it might help if both men stuck to their existing roles as interviewer and prime minister.
My growing sense is that journalists and politicians are growing like two families which have gone away on a long holiday together. We got on for the first few days, then discovered each other's irritating habits and now are rapidly growing sick of the sight and sound of each other!
"Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out". That's New Labour's latest tune.
I jest, of course but only a little. Tony Blair can't stop talking about THAT woman - he's just added a long adlib about her into his speech this afternoon.
If you see her on the TV tonight that's not because the Tories are pushing her but because Labour are. She Tony Blair's GOTV (Get out the Vote) weapon. Why? Because those who stuck with Labour in the '80s through thick and thin hate her more than they like New Labour.
A cynic might suggest that being next to her is the only way that Tony Blair looks at all left-wing. Secondly, because Labour needs to build fear about a Tory victory to persaude their people to bother to vote.
Talking about Thatcherism also gives Blair a chance to reassure recent converts to Labour that he won't reverse her economic reforms.
Poor old John Major - he was prime minister for seven years and no-one's talked about him at all!
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