Was Labour’s poster – a “gaffe” or a “£5m publicity coup”?

Was Labour’s poster – a “gaffe” or a “£5m publicity coup”?

    Who’ll come out best in the Milburn-Crosby show?

We’ll have to wait until the early hours of May 6th when the results from seats with large Jewish populations like Finchley and Golders Green are declared before we can completely put the lid on the Labour poster affair.

If the party’s performance is disproportionately worse in these seats then no doubt some erudite commentator will be recalling the little row that’s been going on since Friday and which has now led to the party withdrawing the posters, which only ever appeared on the internet.

There are differing views on the immediate impact – Radio 4’s “Today Programme” called it a “gaffe” while a story in the Times quotes a PR “expert” saying the party had secured £5m of free publicity. The paper’s leader page was much more hostile saying “Apart from the anti-Semitic overtones, such images are evidence of a campaign that treats the electorate with contempt, their choice at the polls as child’s play. Labour will get the election it deserves. But to coin one of Mr Blair’s own campaign slogans, Britain deserves better than this.”

    The real message from the affair is that Labour’s campaign, headed by Alan Milburn, is going to pull no punches in its attacks on the Tories in general and Michael Howard in particular.

But is this the right way to keep Lib Dem leaning Labour supporters within the fold? This is the group that could have a huge impact on the overall result.

With the man described as the “Australian Karl Rove”, Lytton Crosby, heading the Tory campaign we are going to see a tough campaign from both main parties. The effectiveness of negative tactics in November’s US election has set the scene for the UK.

What are the betting implications? If like last time there are markets on turn-out then bet low.

Mike Smithson

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