Why did nobody realise that this was offensive?
Labour’s poster featuring Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin as the faces of flying pigs was surely not designed to make political capital out of the Jewish backgrounds of the Opposition Leader and Shadow Chancellor.
But how come that Alan Milburn or somebody else in Labour’s campaign team did not know that it is distasteful for a Jewish person to be associated with a pig? And given the fuss why have Labour PR people sought to justify the ad rather than apologise which would at least have prevented much of the ongoing damage.
The affair looks crass and careless and could help galvanise parts of the Jewish communities against Labour.
After a week in which liberal (small l) opinion has has been appalled by the Tory immigration plan along comes Labour and acts in a manner that could be seen as anti-semitic. This is just dumb.
When Michael Howard became Tory leader the pride in the Jewish press that a Jewish person could become Prime Minister was tinged with a worry that it could produce an anti-semitic reaction.
Will the poster cost votes? Probably. How many? That’s hard to say but with Labour still trapped in the mid-high 30s in the polls needlessly offending any section of the population is not a smart move. It could just tip the balance in seats like Finchley and Golders Green where Labour is defending a 3,700 majority.