Will this get the core vote out in the marginals?
On the latest Radio 4’s Any Questions the schools secretary, Ed Balls, made a revealing comment on what I took to be part of Labour’s defence strategy in the marginals.
When being pressed over UNITE’s financial support for Labour including his own seat on the outskirts of Leeds he replied: ” “Unite members make contributions from their pay packets to help the fight against the BNP…..”.
That helped him handle the issue during the programme and was, I suggest, a pointer to the general election campaign.
For traditionally Labour can do well when it can persuade its core supporters that there is a something to come out to vote against. In 1997, 2001 and 2005 it was the Tories – in 2010 in some seats it could be the BNP.
For although the Tory share and Cameron’s ratings have slipped, Labour and Brown are still some way behind, so the full frontal “beastly Tories” rhetoric might not be as potent.
Only five months ago Labour saw the BNP tactic working a treat in the Glasgow NE by-election as I commented at the time. Then a closing argument to core voters was about preventing Griffin’s party from saving its deposit.
Of course this only comes into play if the BNP is standing in a marginal. So a key element to look at in assessing LAB-CON encounters is whether there’s a BNP candidate. If there is then that might just make Labour’s defence a touch easier.