Now I am a fairly cynical person, but not even I can believe that David Cameron has deliberately scheduled the birth of a child to ensure his wife is all ‘aglow’ come the election. Anyway, if he really wanted to cash-in on the baby vote he could have scheduled something for late February and have an actual live baby to show to the cameras. No, I prefer to believe that this happy circumstance is just that, a happy circumstance with no premeditated strategy.
However, I suspect the news will have been greeted with some dismay at Millbank, Labour’s HQ. Dave has been sounding increasingly shrill and angry of late, nothing like a baby to remind the electorate that he’s a nice chap really.
The bigger problems for Labour come in the form of Stephen Byers and British Airways. Byers has been an idiot and there is a danger that the electorate could see this as the sort of sleaze implosion that beset the Tory campaign in 1997. It isn’t remotely the same of course but perception is everything.
The BA strike has also given Dave an opportunity, calling this a ‘Spring of Discontent’, an echo of the Winter of Discontent strikes which ushered out the Callaghan Government in 1979. It is nothing of the sort, 1979 was defined by militancy on the part of nationalised British industries and public sector workers. British Airways is now a private company and the Government can do no more than encourage management and the unions to try and come to a solution. This of course hasn’t stopped Dave from saying they should do more.
All three of these issues have on defining factor – Labour could have done without all of them. None are fatal, but the cumulative drip, drip could be damaging.
In tennis terms, advantage Cameron.