Today's Sunday Times/YouGov poll shows the Tory lead reduced to seven points and a boost in Gordon Brown's personal ratings. It now needs Alastair Darling to do the goods with the Budget to consolidate this position. I've been surprised by the sourness of the Tory reaction this week: it is all-advised.
But the Government also needs to show the confidence that has been on display at the G20 this week across other policy areas: Labour has much stronger welfare and health policies than the Tories and should say so; on education, Labour academies are showing the way forward but they are not being promoted by Labour 'children's ministers' whose message on education has been lost in recent months. Here too, Labour must regain the initiative, not least in the wake of LSC incompetence over college and post-16 funding.
On a separate note, it is encouraging to see that voters have a saner attitude towards the whole issue of MP funding - and Jacqui Smith in particular - than has been exhibited in the sexist bile dumped on the Home Secretary in recent weeks. But Gordon Brown must sort the expenses issue out quickly if it is not to become a running sore that damages the government and not just the public perception of MPs.
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