With six days to go in the election, the campaign is in entering tunnel vision mode.
The level of noise and media reporting happening at this stage of the election is having less impact on changing opinions and only reaffirming existing beliefs and views held across the electorate.
The Conservative Party are maintaining their disciplined approach of trying to avoid any mistakes and looking to project a clear vision for life beyond 12 December. Their focus for this week has been setting out their plans for the first 100 days of a “new” Boris Johnson government. The first item (aligned with their core narrative) is passing the Brexit deal before Christmas. This was followed by a number of other pledges, with most of the headlines going to the promise of a “Brexit Budget” in February and a raised threshold for National Insurance contributions to £9,500 from April.
The Labour Party and its supporters continue to point to the threats to the NHS, education and the lack of tax on the wealthy. The Labour campaign is increasingly becoming more defensive in its tone and rhetoric. There has been a shift to be more geographically focused, with Corbyn and McDonnell in both visiting Birmingham within 24 hours of each other, but suspect any strategic changes now are too late to have an impact.
Outside of the ‘process’ media stories regarding various TV interviews, odd soundbites and photoshoots, and ongoing criticism and rebuttals on manifesto spending and tax commitments, there was another show in town.
With the NATO summit in London, there was a noticeably different calibre of statesmen meeting from across the globe. The Conservative Party knew this week was full of risk. A visit from President Trump was never going to go unnoticed, but the briefness of the stay meant that not further fuel was added to the fire that Labour is desperately trying to get going on the NHS and a US trade deal or any direct provocation from the Labour leader. This meant when wheels went up on Air Force One the Conservatives could return to their slogan driven campaign as planned.
There was also the undeniable demonstration of the soft power that the UK still has at an international state level. The status, symbolism and heritage that the Queen has meant that the UK can still act as a leading stakeholder in international debates.
Boris Johnson continues his attempts to style himself as the minister for the union and regularly references that he leads the Conservative and Unionist Party, but he has been warned by nationalist politicians that if he wins the general election and completes Brexit the future of the UK will be on the line. While a Conservative majority is undoubtedly the most likely scenario, it is far from guaranteed. Whatever the outcome, the uncertain political climate will continue to weigh on economic, political and social activity as we head into 2020.