Tuesday, 14 April 2015


A sprint, not a marathon
We knew the election was coming. The date was set years in advance. Yet in the past few days we've seen the parties scramble to pick up the pace as they speed towards the territory outside their core vote. It was visible in Labour's manifesto yesterday, as they stressed that their management of the economy could take Britain out of the red. And it was noticeable in the Conservatives' pitch today, as they insisted the blues are the party of the working people. If you didn't have enough colours to keep track of, the Greens also launched their programme for government.
The cross-dressing goes on
This week of political cross-dressing goes on. David Cameron tried to re-brand the Conservatives as the party of working people - the day after Ed Miliband claimed that Labour was the party of economic responsibility.

It is not just the language that has changed - it is the tone. Today the Tory leader tried to re-discover the rhetorical "sunshine" he was once associated with - with his promise to deliver "the good life" in a country which he claimed was on the "brink of something special".

So, gone is the "age of austerity". Gone too the warnings of red flashing lights on the dashboard. Gone all talk of difficult decisions. In their place comes not one but three give-aways - an extension of the right to buy, a doubling of free childcare and a promise that tax allowances will rise to ensure that the minimum wage is tax free. This after a series of others - not least the pledge to cut inheritance tax and spend at least £8 billion a year on the NHS.

What today's Conservative manifesto does not spell out is who will pay. Read more >
Nick Robinson
Political editor
Lighting the blue touchpaper
David Cameron was in marginal Swindon South to tell voters about the "good life" his manifesto offers
David Cameron set out the Conservatives' manifesto with some appeals we've heard before, urging: "Let us finish the job." But there was also a fresh approach, emphasising the Conservatives' offer for working people, such as a right to buy from housing associations and taking minimum-wage employees out of income tax. Labour responded that the Conservatives were the "party of the richest in society" and Nick Clegg said their promises were a "con". Read more >
Conservative Party manifesto at a glance
Labour has launched its manifesto ahead of the general election. You can read the full documenthere, but the BBC News site has rounded up the things you need to know. Read more >
Greens press 'Go'
The Greens' leader Natalie Bennett and their MP, Caroline Lucas, both spoke at the launch
In east London, the Green Party launched its manifesto with a call for a "peaceful political revolution" to end austerity and tackle climate change. Natalie Bennett said that with a "strong group of Green MPs" in Westminster voters could help stop the "creeping privatisation of the NHS" and increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour. Read more >
Reality Check: Housing
BBC Reality Check looks at how many people could benefit from a Right to Buy extension.Read more >
The day in pictures
BBC News picture editor Phil Coomes rounds up the day in pictures, including this one of an SNP candidate tending to a lamb. Read more >

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