In what I suppose has to be an exercise in massively lowering expectations, Tory eminence gris Graham Robb has given a downbeat analysis of the Darlington Conservative manifesto launch later in January.
In an unguarded moment on the Town Liar, Graham says,
"I predict Labour will say either that our proposals are unworkable, or that they are lack detail. Neither will be true. The detail is not possible without more knowledge - something which the secretive cabinet system denies to any but the intimates of Labour's ruling cabal. "
So there you have it - the manifesto will be light on ideas, heavy on rhetoric and by the looks of it uncosted.
I had to smile at Graham's explanation as to why the manifesto will be short on detail. He isn't of course a Councillor, so he may not know that the Town Hall's finances can be scrutinised every year at Budget time. Opposition Councillors can ask questions at any time regarding the operation of Council services. The facts are there Graham if your colleagues wanted to find them.
Consistently, the Tories in opposition have preferred to shy away from asking hard questions about Council finances, preferring to leave that to Labour. History it would seem will repeat itself in their damp-squib manifesto. It doesn't look like it will be any sort of platform for May.