How many millions have the Liberals spent on ads telling us the ALP will send interest rates soaring? About $8 million to date? Bit of a waste really.

As Kevin Rudd laid his royal flush on the table at his campaign launch yesterday, the poker game was over. Howard was left with an extra $10 billion in chips on the table to pump the inflation bubble and therefore put upward pressure on interest rates. The Liberals’ slogan “Go for Growth” is looking very awkward now.

As a Howard supporter told me the other day he’d voted for Howard for years because he thought he knew what he stood for. Howard started the campaign asserting this. Along the lines of “you may not love me, but at least you know what you’re getting”.

“But he’s confused the crap out of me in the last few months by throwing huge amounts of money at things I know he doesn’t believe in,” this guy said to me.

Howard and the Coalition have tried to be something they’re not and never have been. A party of reform.

The ALP’s ads this week featuring the woman in the kitchen have nailed the message of the campaign. It’s where all the negative research leads too.

These two lines – “you’ve lost touch Mr Howard. No offence, but you’ve just been there too long” and “sorry Mr. Howard, you’ve lost me”, are the overwhelming sentiment in swinging voter land.

Whilst the execution of these ads is not great with a near resurrection of ‘Whinging Wendy’, the message is the knock out punch. In qual groups, this is what people are saying the land over. The “no offence” reference is the electorate saying “we don’t hate you” but it’s time to go.

The vitriolic style of the Coalition’s negative campaign is offensive to most Australians. Labor has divined the negative message and presented it in a far more credible and respectful way. Well done Tim Gartrell and team.

Tips for the Labor team for campaign launches in the future. Don’t put shiny ties on the leader – he may as well have had P Diddy’s bling around his neck. And get the leader to practise reading the autocue.

And if Kevin is going to be Prime Minister is two weeks, do us all a favour and get him a decent speechwriter. He reminded us he was school debating captain the other day. That is still his style. It’s not a debate anymore. It’s a dialogue. An ongoing discourse with the Australian people. To sell reform you have to sound creative and enthused. You have to stop the opposition leader carping style and make him a national leader.

Howard has never had a decent speechwriter and will only ever be remembered for the “never, never, ever” line on the GST, “core and non-core promises” and “Lazarus with a triple bypass”. Not a piece of vision or inspiration in 12 years.