But didn’t this approach fail in C&N?
The Sun’s Whip column is carrying an interesting story suggesting that Labour is planning to revive it’s “Toff attacks” on the Tories in the run up to the election.
According to the report the plan is to portray Cameron, Osborne and possibly others as from a different class than ordinary people who have no real idea about their concerns.
The report goes on: The campaign will make huge posters of those cringe-making student photos of the two men in Oxford Universityâ€™s drunken, bar-trashing Bullingdon Club and ask: â€œDo you want these men to run Britain?â€
On the face of it this seems pretty naff – particularly after the failure of Labour’s Crewe & Nantwich campaign last May when a similar approach was used. I guess the strategy is not to win over swing voters but to put some “fire in the belly” of activists to get them out fighting in the key marginals.
The only downside is that in pressing forward in this way it could, like in C&N, reinforce the desire of Tory supporters to turn out which in the by election they did in their thousands.
To my mind there are two big dangers: how are all MPs, particularly Labour ones, going to be perceived after the expenses story breaks fully? Being “posh” might be a minor consideration. Then there is the possibility that Cameron is being seen in a different light after the tragic death of his son, Ivan.
Negative campaigns like this only really work if they resonate with the way voters are feeling. You cannot expect to change minds by going against the grain of opinion.
I think Labour would be far better if they took the Alan Johnson approach – don’t doubt Cameron’s sincerity but raise fears about the party behind him.
Hat Tip: Spectator CoffeeHouse