By Ray Fleming

GIVEN the wealth of creative talent it has at its disposal it's surprising that the Conservative Party has adopted such an ordinary, uninspiring slogan for the general election. “Vote for change” is an injunction, not a motivation. If “change” has to be used, surely “Time for change” would be much more effective. Among those floating voters who can see little of substance between the parties the most compelling argument in the Conservatives' favour is that after fourteen years Labour has run out of steam - as all governments do.

Moreover, the wisdom of using “change” at all can be questioned. In recent political terms the word inevitably belongs to Barack Obama yet after his one year in office there are many people who now understand that change is easy to talk about but fiendishly difficult to achieve. Among the six main targets for change listed by the Conservatives at their Spring Forum in Brighton yesterday is “reforming Westminster”. How many times did Barack Obama claim that he intended to “change Washington”? Yet he has become a prisoner of the very malfunctional systems he promised to be rid of. Of course, Westminster is not Washington (it may prove to be even more difficult to change!) but the warning is there. The rest of the Conservative targets -- national debt, boosting enterprise, family, NHS, school standards -- are admirable, but at the end of the polling day how different will they prove to be from Labour's agenda?