Friday, January 15, 2010

Labour’s election campaign: a sorry sight

Alex Massie (via Hopi) has a strategic lesson for Labour (in the little time that remains for the party to shape its fortunes), borrowed from Domino’s Pizza, another deeply sullied brand:

Step One, then, is admitting you have a problem. Step Two is doing something about it.

[This might appeal to] people who aren't convinced by the Tories' own reinvention but would like to see Labour up its own game, address its past mistakes honestly and demonstrate a commitment to doing better in the future.

It has a lot to recommend it, not least the fact that trying to deny any past mistakes is both dishonest and implausible. And with the government under attack from almost every direction, a bit of self-criticism may be one of the few things that could make people sit up and take notice (is it ju-jitsu where you use your opponent’s strength against them?).

So what might this approach look like for Labour? Obviously, the below is too wordy for a poster, but it might be a starting point for the elements that the message would have to contain:

We’re sorry we didn’t see the credit crunch coming.
But we stopped the recession from becoming a slump.
And now we’ll help get people back to work again.

It begins with an admission of failure. Then it explains how they adapted to the storm, and then makes an offer for the future. With GDP growth returning (touch wood), the two big economic issues will be the deficit and unemployment. I think Labour will be better off, campaign-wise, focusing on the latter.

1 comment:

Liam Murray said...

In essence though, that distills into a 'values' campaign - 'fess up on mistakes but make a clear pitch that your intentions are always sound and the other lot don't just mess up, they're actually malicious etc.

I agree it's probably Labour's best shot but it is difficult.