Have Labour and Burnham screwed up the Hannan opportunity?

Have Labour and Burnham screwed up the Hannan opportunity?

Why did they fail to capitalise on the Tory-Hannan open goal?

The events of the past couple of days have underlined what is becoming increasingly apparent: Labour never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

I’ve been trying to do a piece on this them but have just discovered the Soho Politico blog which is making all the points I was trying to write but only better.

“Labour should have just sat back and watched the reaction to Hannan from the sidelines, and reaped the benefit. They would have been the real victors of the Hannan affair if they had resisted the urge to meddle. That is because, prior to Labour’s involvement, the issue was being framed by the media as a spontaneous uprising by all the decent people of this county against an evil Tory who consorts with the American nutjob right.

People would have worried about just how representative Hannan’s views are behind closed doors in Tory circles. They would have reminded themselves that, although David Cameron talks a pretty liberal game for the cameras, there is evidence that, like his leadership predecessors, he is sometimes forced to make strategic capitulations to the hard-right to stop them from making trouble for him…

..Instead, however, Labour has taken ownership of the fightback against Hannan, first by adding excruciating tweets from the Browns and Andy Burnham to Twitter using the welovethenhs hashtag, second by launching an official Labour campaign encouraging more people to take part in welovethenhs, and third by repeatedly challenging Cameron to disown Hannan. Because of this, the Hannan story is increasingly being recast as a run-of-the-mill Labour vs Tory dingdong.

There will now be no widespread questioning of the depth of the Conservative commitment to the NHS, precisely because Labour is now pushing the line that there ought to be widespread questioning. The Hannan affair is now slipping out of the news agenda… The Conservatives have been allowed to move on, and that marks an epic strategy fail for Labour.”

Mike Smithson

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