Danny Finkelstein has an opinion piece in The Times today entitled "The Tories will get burnt fighting fire with fire" in which he argues that they should stop going negative against Labour in their campaigning and instead be more positive about what they would do:
Question this approach and senior Conservatives will remind you that they are not unilateralists. A multilateralist sees Mr Brown's favourite technique and knows how to respond. The PM likes to make up a Tory policy and then attack it. He likes, for instance, to assail the Conservatives for planning to take away tax credits from poor people, a policy he simply invented. Surely, the Tories say, we have to fight fire with fire. We have to make the same sort of attacks, if only as a deterrent.Yet if the Tories are multilateralists, they are also free traders. They know that if one country protects its goods, it doesn’t make sense for a trading partner to retaliate. The protectionist country suffers (through high import prices) whatever other traders do. If you introduce tariffs yourself, all you do is join in the suffering.And so it is with negative attacks. Mr Brown’s attacks often make him seem petty, partisan and mean-spirited. Sometimes they make him seem completely out to lunch. If Mr Cameron responds in kind it could make him seem the same. Associating Mr Cameron with personal attacks endangers the Conservatives’ most important asset — their leader’s image as a more generous, broad-minded sort of Tory.