Much has been made by the right on Brown's decision not to call an election. Yes, they have had some beneficial headlines and Dave was provided with plenty of ammo in today's PMQs. But, as with most superficiality, it will soon be forgotten about as the merry-go-round of Punch and Judy politics turns ever onward.
Labour can draw positives from this incident. Mainly that Dave has been force to lay some of his cards on the table far more early than he would've liked. Osborne's pledges to cut inheritance tax and, to a lesser extent, tax the non-doms may have lead to a Tory up-turn in the polls that allowed them to avoid a snap election, but it also allowed Labour to steal a march on them.
Not only are Labour's proposals on those issues fairer, more redistributive and more fiscally sound that the Tory plans, several policies that would be a cornerstone of a Conservative manifesto have been neutralised. Brown may have to take a hit for ‘stealing’ policy ideas in the short term, but it will be long forgotten by the electorate in 2009.
There are also advantages for the Labour left. Due to the political climate within his own party, Dave was forced into moving the Tories towards the right, back to the bread and butter of tax cuts.
In yesterday’s Guardian Polly Toynbee argued that Labour now has the opportunity to move away from the battle for the centre and present itself as the party intent on fairness and fighting inequality in society.
Perhaps the announcements in yesterday’s Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review of above-inflation spending in the NHS coupled with increased spending in Education, Housing and Overseas Aid are a step in this direction?