There was only one thing that could have knocked Hunt/Murdoch off the top off the news agenda, and that’s the return of recession.
The economy is the story.
Yesterday I said that we should forget Hunt and ask instead what Cameron knew. That’s more important than ever now. Unless Rupert Murdoch drops David Cameron in it in spectacular fashion this morning at the Leveson enquiry, Ed Miliband must focus on an issue that goes to the core of the government’s narrative – the economy.
Everything – EVERYTHING – about this government is built on the foundation of perceived economic confidence. Ed Miliband must use PMQs (his best weapon today) to show how false that narrative is. The Tories have mishandled the economy for nearly two years. We’ve been cataloging “the Osborne effect” for a year now. There is no growth. Without it the economy can’t recover.
Today is also a vindication for Ed Balls (although he must be careful not to say “I told you so) who was mocked for even raising the spectre of a double dip. But here we are. Balls understood far better than Osborne the impact of full blooded austerity. In this dark hour for Britain and the economy, Ed Balls must show that his way is the route to recovery, and restore Labour’s economic credibility.
Both Miliband and Balls must be aware though that they are swimming against a strong media tide. The media loves nothing more than to talk about itself. Murdoch gives them an opportunity to do that. They’ll do that anyway. But Labour must make sure the return of recession isn’t relegated to the inside pages.
That would be unforgivable.