Is Labour being panicked by the BNP?

Is Labour being panicked by the BNP?

reid-tory poster2.jpg

    Why’s Reid using Tory 2005 campaign slogans?

In an extraordinary interview on BBC 1 this morning the Home Secretary, John Reid, outlined his new policies in language that seemed to have come straight from the Tory immigration plan published three months before the 2005 General Election.

This is a direct quote from Reid: “We have to enforce our borders better and…we have to get away from this daft so-called politically correct notion that anybody who wants to talks about immigration is somehow a racist.”

That, in a nutshell was the message of the most famous poster, featured above, in the Tory run-up to the last election. Reid’s very words could have come from Michael Howard himself and which were subject to a massive attack by Labour a little more than a year ago.

Repeatedly the Tories came under fire for taking the line and there’s little doubt that this helped Labour in their effort to demonise the party.

    So why is Reid not even being original in his choice of language as he tries to find a rhetoric which he hopes will resonate? Why is he plagarising the Tory words?

There would seem to be two explanations: this is just an individual initiative and is just part of Reid’s positioning as he prepares for his leadership challenge against Brown. Or could it be that we are seeing how Labour plans to deal with the serious seepage of support to the BNP?

Has Reid taken up what was described as the Tory “dog whistle strategy” in order to send a message to traditional Labour supporters who are vulnerable to BNP approaches.

This is really dangerous territory for Labour because the groups most likely to be alienated by this line of campaigning are the very ones who felt sore over Iraq and are even more disenchanted with Blair over the current Middle East crisis.

It won’t take long before the policy wonks in the Tory and Lib Dem HQs start digging out the comments by senior Labour people in the run-up to the last election.

Mike Smithson

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