Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Brown Copies Foot Election Strategy

The election strategy being fought by Gordon Brown and his team reminds me of that followed by Michael Foot in 1983. These cosy little household chats which Brown is doing every day are exactly what Foot did in 1983, partly in order to keep him away from the media. Foot did his best to stay away from as many one on one interviews on the TV as possible, and Brown is following suit. Rumour has it he has already turned down the usual confrontation with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight ... but was, of course, very happy to submit himself to the rigorous interviewing style of GMTV this morning.

Foot spent most of the campaign in 1983 touring the country speaking to supportive Labour audiences, rarely encountering "real voters". And I suspect that's exactly how it is going to play out with Brown. We'll have more incidents like the one at St Pancras yesterday when Brown is filmed shaking hands with "normal voters", who then turn out to be Labour Party activists.

The one thing you do not want to do in the first week of an election campaign is to hack off the hacks. The LibDems did their best to do that at their press conference this morning with some over-zealous security measures - Adam Boulton almost exploded with annoyance - but Gordon Brown and his team seem determined to try to win this election by treating the media like dirt and refusing to co-operate on basic measures. Gordon Brown's refusal to even acknowledge Michael Crick's presence in the Newsnight film last night was almost comical. What did it achieve? Certainly nothing positive. There is a way to deal with journalists like Crick, but ignoring them is not one of them.

36 comments:

DespairingLiberal said...

Would anyone care to take a bet with me on how long it will be before Cameron blanks Crick?!

One thing to note so far is how incredibly fake and stage-managed Cameron is. The BBC showed it best last night with his ridiculous circular stage in Leeds, designed to make it look as though he was surrounded by adoring members of the public - when the camera panned back, there were about 50 Tory supporters cheering under studio lights in a big hanger on a pre-built stage. It was like the fake moon landings in that Capricorn movie.

Coming Soon: all three parties claim they have No Plans. It's enough to make a voter give up on day one. I am already feeling a little bored and wondering if Lastminute have flights to Uganda.

Faceless Bureaucrat said...

"Brown Copies Foot Election Strategy"

Thank goodness! - for a while there I thought they might just win...

FB

Stepney said...

Uganda may be the best place for you. Try Masindi.

Moriarty said...

" I am already feeling a little bored and wondering if Lastminute have flights to Uganda."

We'll have a whip round.

Englishman said...

Nick Clegg, Poor mand David Cameron, he wants to 'be' Dave SOOOOO much!.

If anybody thinks the complete and utter EU Subservient far left-wing extremists quaintly disguised in the guise of 'Liberal Democrats' would be an alternative to fellow EU Subservient far-left wing extremists McLabour then they would be sadly mistaken, if anything they would be worse (if at all possible).

Always good to remind ones self though that the extremist and traitorous Lib Dems will never, ever, for a Government.

Not in England anyway, and they, as McLabour, dont even recognise England as 'existing', so therefore will not be expecting many votes from the English I presume.

Englishman said...

Gordon Broon.

Heir to Foot.

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/6985/broonwhenigrowup1.jpg

DespairingLiberal said...

Thanks Moriarty - a tenner each should cover it. Perhaps some of you could do with a Ugandan Affair as well, get you off your keyboards for a bit.

tory boys never grow up said...

So how many of Cameron's events are going to be open to the general public who turn up on the day?? Sadly, you will find that such days are long gone, I blame Mrs Thatcher and her advisers for that.


You are actually wrong about Foot who held plenty of open public meetings, at which he was quite good sicne he was never afraid of hecklers, although you are right in saying that he did shy away from the Press.

Personally, I would like to hear more of what the politicians are actually saying - rather than not having it interpreted for me by the likes of Nick Robinson etc.

Iain Dale said...

Tory Boys, You are right, Foot did do some big public meetings. I went to on ein Norwich and heckled him. But virtually everyone there was a Labour supporter.

You are wrong about Cameron's meetings. All his Cameron Direct meetings are attended by floating voters, not generally Tory members.

norman said...

@DL You are a fool. Guido showed how the party members surrounding Brown as common voters in St Pancras and other places he went by showing the pictures of same members surrounding him every where he went.

I agree Brown like Foot is Old Labour-tax and spend champagne socialist ( coming from ordinary family? I lived in Scotland and know how presb clergy like his father lead comfortable lives and how the doors open for their sons and daughters. It is said by a presb clergy friend of mine that hospital consultant positions , university senior management positions and public sector management positions are decided on Sunday meetings in COS churches). Like Foot he appeals to Labour core voters-the unskilled immigrants he imported,UNITE members and the pen-pushing public sector workers whose numbers he quadrupled. This cynical Old Labourite in 1997 and later elections went out of the way to show how business-friendly he was. He even said in his yearly address to CBI. He is Old Labour-same old , same old.

The Grim Reaper said...

Cameron Direct sounds more like a catalogue than a series of meetings to me. Although as a catalogue, it sounds infintely better than Brown Direct. I daren't ask what they sell.

I think this post is slightly insulting to Michael Foot personally. People from all over the political scale liked and respected Foot - even The Ranting Penguin said something nice about him when he died! Whereas Brown on the other hand is hated by just about everyone.

He won't be getting any gushing tributes when he pops his clogs, I suspect that.

tory boys never grow up said...

Iain

I asked a question about Cameron's events - which you have failed to answer.

Are you telling me that the "floating voters" are not preselected? My guess is that they are mostly Conservative maybes from canvass returns.

Iain Dale said...

Meetinda are advertised in local area. People apply to attend. As I understand it, people who are listed as "don't knows" on canvass returns are given priority. After all, they are the ones who need to be persuaded. There's little point in Cameron going to marginal seats and preaching to the converted is there? Even you can understand that.

Known Conservatives are specifically excluded from Cameron Direct meetings.

I have been to one of them, in Chatham, to write it up for the blog. I met one Conservative in an audience of 150.

tory boys never grow up said...

"Guido showed how the party members surrounding Brown as common voters in St Pancras and other places he went by showing the pictures of same members surrounding him every where he went."

Norman - there is no denying that - but I think you will find that Cameron does exactly the same thing. Did you notice his audience yesterday - do you really want to say that it was just a random cross-section of people who just turned.

All the major parties have events teams that carefully stage manage all their leader's appearances - and have had since Mrs T's days and Michaal Foot's failure to do so. Get used to it I'm afraid.

Iain Dale said...

Tory boys, there is a great difference between making a planned speech and inviting an audience, and pretending to meet random members of the public in a train station, who then turn out to be party members.

Cameron's speech yesterday was in the open air, by Westminster Bridge. Anyone could turn up and listen. Of course they had invited people to come to listen. It's a bit pointless making a speech without an audience.

tory boys never grow up said...

Iain

Thank you - I didn't think that the Conservatives still had don't knows on their canvas returns - i thought some distinction was made as to likley voting intentions wherever possible.

tory boys never grow up said...

Iain

Please don't pretend that the faces around Cameron for the photos were not carefully selected. You and I both know that this is not the case.

The last thing Cameron is going to risk is one of those faces suddely turning hostile. As I said all leader's events are pretty carefully choreoghaphied. I know it and you know it - it is pretty sad however, as I'd quite like to go to a Cameron event!

Hawkeye said...

So, Brown is following Foot's method? Let us hope that they work as well for Brown as they did for Foot.

norman said...

@Tory boys. Nice try but it is not. Labour boys are infants!

Scary Mary said...

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/04/twenty-pieces-of-advice-to-election.html

"Your only media focus is local. Ignore Michael Crick. He's not there to help you." - Iain Dale - 4th April 2010
 

"There is a way to deal with journalists like Crick, but ignoring them is not one of them." - Iain Dale - 7th April 2010

Iain Dale said...

Good spot, Scary Mary. Let me try to, er, explain...

I actually think I was right on both occasions, LOL!

THe first bit of advice was meant for a first time local candidate. Today's pearls were aimed at someone who is Prime Mininister. I think they are as different as chalk and cheese, so both sentences could be OK.

Er, I'll get my coat...

PoliticalHack said...

Sorry, but all party events are closely stage managed, regardless of political hue and campaign launches are doubly carefully managed to ensure that the right message is sent out. Security issues with the PM and senior Cabinet members make pre-arranged meetings a requirement for Labour anyway.

What would Cameron Direct sell? Glossily-packaged snake oil.

Bill Quango MP said...

There can't be many schools which the PM hasn't visited. A few badly failing ones left I suppose.

He will probably resort to visiting Intensive care wards and homes for the very elderly and confused.
Anywhere where the people he talks to have no idea who he is.

starfish said...

Hmm

A bit like the PM's stagemanaged visits to Our Boys on the frontline eh?

What's the betting there will be one before May 6?

The Grim Reaper said...

So you've changed your mind about Michael Crick in only 3 days, Iain?

Epic fail on your part there, methinks.

Iain Dale said...

I refer the Hon Reaper to comment I made at 1.27!

DespairingLiberal said...

They will all try to dodge Crick, purely because he is a tough, clever journalist and the last thing they want is tough, clever questioning.

Norman, I hold no brief for Brown but I did watch the whole of his walk onto the train at St Pancras most carefully, flicking between channels to get different angles. Of course he had the core pre-selected group with him, as did Cameron, but unlike Cameron, he also shook hands with lots and lots of people who could not possibly have been pre-selected and many looked surprised. I was surprised at how pleasantly he was greeted by most, but this is Britain of course where most are decent, civilised people. But the point you are pikcing up from Guido is just silly, especially since Cammie was doing exactly the same, only more so. I know it wasn't exactly a deep dialogue but Brown wasn't shying away from the public, to give him due credit.

The only real moments of tension in the campaign will of course come when someone with an axe to grind breaks through the protective cordon and gets into a proper, unscripted debate with one or other leader - that's when we see truth. And not at any other time at all, which makes virtually the whole of the rest of the lavish campaigns almost utterly futile as mind-changers.

Iain Dale said...

DL, most of them were Labour activists. Even Emily Benn was there as a so called activist!

DespairingLiberal said...

Can I also please ask, if anyone is thinking of going out canvassing for any party, please don't. It merely distracts us from the important job of surfing the TV channels soaking up valuable party propaganda and no canvasser can remotely approach the quality of the TV agitprop the Parties have so carefully designed.

So please party activists, relax, put your feet up and enjoy it on TV - much nicer than going out and meeting voters! And so much more useful.

Will the Tory Party be continuing it's long tradition of using paid canvassers in this election?

DespairingLiberal said...

Iain, as I said, there was obviously a party group around all the leaders. All I was pointing out was that Brown also shook hands with lots of members of the public, which Cameron has not yet done. I'm sure he'll get round to it!

Or are you arguing that at busy St Pancras, security men first swept the platform clear of ordinaries and then pre-inserted hundreds of party droids? Isn't this a bit of a stretch?

The Grim Reaper said...

Iain Dale said to me "I refer the Hon Reaper to comment I made at 1.27!"

Hmm... The Honourable Grim Reaper? I like the sound of that. Anyway, back to you, Lord Dale of Saffron Walden. If local candidates should ignore Crick, what should Prime Ministers do?

norman said...

@DL . I tell you what you should follow your beloved leader, the one who saved the world, wherever he goes. Such an admirer of him. He has shortage of admirers now.

DespairingLiberal said...

Norman, dry up - you are assuming I vote Labour, which is utter ba**s. If you can't tell the difference between an intelligent discussion and party point scoring you don't belong on this blog. Prat.

Ronald said...

I wish Brown would come round to the factory I work in.

All leaders will make sure that when they are photographed or filmed that they have an appropriate ethnic mix behind them.

Allan said...

Brown's not the only polititian to openly copy Foot's election strategy... The Scottish Tories battlebus (with Anabelle on board) was shown on the news last night going through a set of low tree-branches...

DespairingLiberal said...

Battlebuses are so last century. I would like to see more use of Battlebarges and Battleballoons, possibly also some wider usage of Battlebicycles.

If all the Battlebuses try to enter a small town at the same time, do they experience total battlebus-lock? Do you they call out the town constables to use appropriate handsigns in directing each Battlebus?