The economic crisis overshadowed David Cameron's conference, and it is blunting his edge as Opposition Leader in parliament as well. Since he has no clear alternative ideas to those being put forward by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, he is having to broadly offer support while taking issue in minor areas. Thus, at Prime Minister's Questions today - and repeating a tactic pursued by George Osborne on the 'Today' programme this morning - he chose to attack executive bonuses. Emotionally significant, the bonuses are economically insignificant, quite apart from the fact that the Tories are unconvincing scourges of city bonuses. It is a tactic that smacks of populist desperation, and the the Cameron-Osborne team might be best advised to examine their underlying economic answers more closely. Then, they might be able to come up with more convincing alternatives. Or perhaps, when both parties are so ideologically close, there are no convincing alternatives?
Incidentally, best line of the afternoon probably belonged to Nick Clegg - "When a ship is sinking you send out the lifeboats, you don't argue about who steered it into the iceberg."