Party divisions become clearer

Back to the future. That's the impression left after the past fortnight of politicking.

Outside their conference, the Tories were greeted by thousands of protesters marching against cuts. Inside, they paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher and lined up to condemn Labour for reverting to the socialism of the 1970s.

All this was inspired in large part by a Labour leader who the week before at his conference had promised to bring back socialism and had defined himself as the man ready to stand up not just to the energy firms but any business which abused its power.

Ed Miliband believes the banking crisis has moved the political centre ground to the left - ground that he now firmly occupies. He hopes that Tory promises of more spending and welfare cuts will convince the electorate that they have abandoned it.

David Cameron believes no leader can be elected if the public see them as the enemy of enterprise and that the public have already concluded that Conservative economic policies are necessary and working.

For two men who grew up in the Thatcher era this must all be rather nostalgic. For some voters too. It certainly means that the divide between them is a great deal clearer than it was before.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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