How will 1997 tactics go down in 2010?
One of the simple but effective campaign tools that Labour has used in its last three elections has been the pledge card – and given the results in 1997, 2001, and 2005 who can blame them for looking at the idea again.
When it first appeared it was symbolic of the new professional communication approach that Tony Blair’s New Labour seemed to embody. It comes over as positive politics and puts the emphasis on what they are trying to achieve.
It’s also, I guess, pretty cheap to produce by the million and in the coming encounter controlling costs is going to be imperative.
As Andrew Grice notes in the Independent “In two private meetings this week with his Cabinet and his MPs, Mr Brown has acknowledged that Labour’s pitch at the coming election must be forward-looking and that merely defending its record in office would cut little ice with the voters. “Elections are about the future, not the past,” one Labour strategist said yesterday.”
The 1997 version had “keep this card, and see that we keep our promises” written on the back and no doubt something like this would feature again.
A problem is that in previous elections it was so associated with Tony Blair who was central to Labour proposition in 1997 and 2001. Would Brown appear on the new version? He really has to but he enjoys nothing like the same approval ratings. Could reminding potential Labour voters of the party leader turn out to be a negative?
Another issue facing all the parties, as we’ve seen with the Cameron poster, is that so many of us have computers and it’s so simple to produce spoof versions of anything and have the means of distribution.