Pressure mounts on both party leaders as economy dives

Update “Families’ annual food bills rocket by £1,000,” says the Bel Tel’s lead story in its better, brighter website. P.S. I wonder why it’s so much like the Independent’s?

As recession looms, here is the real news: Inflation hits 10 year high. Read closely and that means well over 10% up for food and fuel. Can political leaders make any difference at all or must we simply sit it out and put up with nothing more than wrangling and platitudes? The comment rollercoaster is flat lining for Cameron with a chance of an upward swing ; through the floor for Brown – ” a dead man walking” according to Rachel Sylvester in the Times, with not a new idea in his head.

For the moment, switchback attention centres on Cameron, but it’s nervous rather than cool. Can he do any better than beleaguered Brown? It’s not enough for Cameron to keep savaging the man. As an instance of how much Cameron has to do to shape up as a convincing leader after a major interview this morning, you couldn’t do better than refer to blogs by two of Westminster’s leading political editors. The BBC’s Nick Robinson concludes the Tory debate is about a need for tax cuts, while the pro-Tory Daily Mail’s political editor Ben Brogan, a man much wooed by the Cameron camp, believes he could be preparing opinion for tax rises by a future Tory government. If these two guys can’t read Cameron right, who can?

Adds Brown’s candidly critical friend Steve Richards in the Independent, writes one the most insightful columns I’ve read for ages:
“Brown believes genuinely that as someone with more experience on economic matters than anyone else in politics he is well placed to play whatever limited part a leader can in these circumstances.”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London