Monday, December 15, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Labour Books Advertising Hoardings for January

Westminster has been awash today with rumours that Gordon Brown may be planning a snap election in February. Well, let me add grist to that mill.

I am told by advertising industry contacts that the Labour Party has instructed its advertising agency MINDSHARE to buy up advertising space and hoardings for January, which will inevitably lead to further specualtion about an early February election.

In theory, that might mean nothing. But they did this in October 2007 too when there were real and clear plans to hold an election. Wee Dougie Alexander and Ed Balls hadn't reckoned on Brown losing his nerve at the last minute - and then blaming them.

It is very dangerous indeed for Brown if election speculation takes hold again. Buying up advertising space like this will only add fuel to it.

UPDATE Tue 1pm: Mindshare have been in touch and said: "We would like to put on the record that we have received no instructions from the Labour Party to buy up advertising space or hoardings in January."


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Gordon is not being straight if he will book advertising hordings but will not allow the civil service to discuss positive policy implementation strategies with the Tories.

Brown will have to rule an election out or let the Tories see the Civil Service.

Colin said...

I'm of the opinion that the longer things go, the worse it will get for brown.

It's becoming clear that his schemes have so far failed and with serious economists and commentators predicting meltdown in early 2009, he can't really afford to wait.

The main caveat is that the labour party has no money to fight an election.

Anonymous said...

He hasn't got the bottle but if he is thinking then he should certainly let Cameron have meetings with civil servants.

T England. Raised from the dead. said...

Colin said...
[i]"with serious economists and commentators predicting meltdown in early 2009, he can't really afford to wait"[/i].

I'm with your thinking on that one, what does unelected Brown do? Have it at the start of the recession or wait untill were in possible depression?
But what if unelected Brown believes his own spin about coming out of recession next year.

Most financial bods I've heard speaking say there is a VERY VERY little chance were come out of the Recesion next year.

Blaad said...

Surely this (if it comes to pass) manipulation of choosing when to go to the country to best suit your own party's political chances is the strongest possible argument for fixed term parliaments.

That way we'd get to see the full effects of Brown's bungling before being asked whether he should get a chance to make it even worse.

Jimmy said...

I agree he should let Cameron speak to any civil servants not already on his party's payroll, but I'd be surprised if it were earlier than June. Summer's best for turnout and the polls aren't quite there yet.

Dick the Prick said...

Bring it on.

Mitch said...

will he borrow the money? he has form on this.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy - the only party to have had govt civil servants on their payroll is Labour and one of the leakers to Brown is now a junior minister.

Her name is Helen Goodman.
"When not working at the Treasury under her maiden name of Helen Goodman, the report's author was an ambitious Labour politician using her married name of Helen Seaford."

Jimmy said...


As I recall the Evening Hitler at least had the good grace to report Ms. Goodman's denial. What is the policy on libel here?

JuliaM said...

"Seems to me that Gordon is not being straight.."

Tee hee!

labourparty said...

//The main caveat is that the labour party has no money to fight an election.//

Labour has not only restructured its loans, but received more in personal donations than the Tories in the last quarter. Today Lord Sainsbury donated £500,000 to Labour.

As to speculation that the booking of poster sites, if accurate, means a February General Election, I have to tell you that you're probably* unwise to think that.

Now flush with cash, we can afford to use poster sites to launch a late-winter offensive without it being linked to any election (though there will be both European and local elections in June).

* "Probably" is only used because the date of the General Election is in the PM's gift alone.

Iain Dale said...

Labourparty, you will note that I did not say I thought there would be a February election. I don't. But this will add fuel to those who think there will be.

Unsworth said...

Booking is not the same as buying. Are they putting their money where their mouth is?

And - knowing where their mouth actually is - how very unhygienic.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

"any civil servants not already on his party's payroll" Evidence?

Libel? How far do you want to go with that?

Tory Boy said...

Go Brown, meet your place in history - defeat


Bring it on I say.

Brown has been the worst Chancellor and PM (unelected) in living memory.

It's time to boot this socialist spend-aholic and his cabinet of stupid sound-bites into touch.

Record debt, rising unemployment, a sinking pound.....I'd love to take him on in a head to head debate.

The man is just another arrogant politico who has never had a proper job in his life. Him and his colleagues would be quite incapable of getting a job in the private sector.

Go for it bottler!

Tory Boy said...

Britain is well-prepared for a recession - my Tory backside it is. Even the divine Tessa Jowell supports the Tory line:

Jimmy said...


Whom have I libelled?

Man in a Shed said...

Labour has no choice - the economic news is so bad that the debt fuel pyramid confidence scheme can't be kept on the road for much longer.

David Cameron should suggest criminal charges may be brought against Labour ex-ministers in the future if they are shown to have mislead the public in financial statements etc.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

Yes indeed, I do so enjoy a good 'whom'.

Did I say you'd libelled anyone?

How's the remedial reading class coming along?

Man in a Shed said...

I'll go further - Cameron should promise a public enquiry into the governments handling of the debt bubble and financial crisis, but without immunity from future criminal prosecution for ex-government ministers etc.

Jimmy said...


Did I say you'd said I'd libelled someone?

And so on and so on.

Anonymous said...

Got a call about an hour ago from local Lib Dem. Said calling local people for election support. Told her it's nearly Christmas and surely it's best to ask after Christmas as no one's really thinking about politics now, and anyway would vote for whoever came 2nd to Labour last time. She said they'd been advised to chase voters now as there could be an election 'very soon'. Intriguing.

shesback said...

Sorry to spoil the fun but this is a non-story - its just not true.
I work at Mindshare and we are issuing the following press release:
We would like to put on the record that we have received no instruction to buy up advertising space and hoardings as reported in Iain Dales blog.
Simon Andrews

Dick the Prick said...

Brown can't as his EU masters won't let him before the fake Oirish vote. He is such a disgusting coward.

Null said...

God, I hope he does call an election. Only two more months of incompetence.

Mr Mr said...

Plus Lord Sainsbury has just given labour £500,000 to campaign with.

February seems a bit early to me when we know that OBAMA is going to attend Gordon's 'Save the world' concert in April.

DiscoveredJoys said...

Surely the NuLabour Party won't require advertising hordings?

The empty factories, long dole queues, "everything must go" sales and boarded up houses should speak volumes about their competence?

Jimmy said...

Remember that picture of Cameron skulking in the shadows behind Lamont on Black Wednesday?

It'll make a lovely billboard.

Brummie Alice said...

So Iain, you make a lot of money from MessageSpace. So when customers buy advertising from it (and you benefit) you may also decide to make political capital out of that (as well as financial capital).

Is this clearly stated in the terms and conditions of doing business with you?

Iain Dale said...

Alice, If I understood the point you are trying to make I'd attempt to answer it.

Brummie Alice said...

Thanks Iain. Presumably you are reporting on a commercial transaction between MessageSpace and Labour or its agents. You are in a privileged position to know of this transaction because you make money from MessageSpace. Therefore, clients of MessageSpace cannot presume any confidentiality in their commercial dealings with the company because you may choose to blog about it.

This position seems to be irregular (you wouldn't expect a newspaper to report that it had sold advertising space to a party), probably offputting to prospective advertisers and sees you gain both ways: because you can break a 'news story' and benefit financially from the end result.

Just doesn't seem quite right.

nadds said...

Brummie Alice

Different agencies, darling

Anonymous said...

According to the Independent (back to being a - the - serious newspaper) Cameron is agitating for serious investigation into the financial melt down.

Is he turning into a street fighter?

If so, how did Patricia Hewitt elide from minister (incompetent) to member of a health industry board?

Brown might yet rue his imbecilic 'do nothing' sound bite if Cameron and co are really going to show some teeth and maul members of this execrable government where it hurts.

Bill Quango MP said...

Simon Andrews

How do we know thats really you, and not a DD anti story post?

Ali campbell told me that there were weapons of mass destruction poised to be fired at Big Ben..Ahh the loveable old drunken storyteller.

If he had a pound for every lie he has told he'd have about eighteen euros worth.

Jimmy said...

"Is he turning into a street fighter?"

Not unless it's Sloane Street.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

EXCLUSIVE! Labour 2009 Poster Campaign Revealed

Iain Dale said...

Brummie Alice, You presume entirely wrong. You seem to assume that the only person I know in the advertising industry works for MessageSpace! I dont know anything about Labour advertising on MessageSpace. Just so that's clear!

Brummie Alice said...

I stand corrected.

Tim said...

Iain, regardless of the actual source, I think your capitalising on your advertising contacts in this way reflects poorly on Total Politics, which relies heavily on advertising (it's given out free to tend of thousands of 'readers') and is constantly billed as a politically neutral entity.

It don't look too proper is all I'm saying.


Iain Dale said...

Tim, sorry but that is utter nonsense. Everyone knows this blog is in part about political gossip. It is totally separate from my role at Total Politics and always has been. And I have contacts all over the place which are nothing to do with the magazine at all.

Bond007 said...

The denial from "Simon Andrews (MindShare)" counts for nothing - and that Labour probably has reserved ad sauce with Mindshare.

I'm of the opinion that the will be an early election; with Mandy/Campbell counting on a hung parliament with Con as largest party.

... in the hope that DC will be blamed (by the BBC, Times et al) for making the recession longer / deeper had Labour been in power. Hence the need for another election within a year or so, to return Labour to power again.

However, I reckon that the electorate will punish Labour for taking them to the polls at the start of a serious recession.

Can't wait. Bring it on

Tim said...

"And I have contacts all over the place which are nothing to do with the magazine at all."

I still think it looks bad, regardless of the actual source. Advertising is the visible lifeblood of your magazine, I think it's fair to say, and assumptions will be made, even if you declare there's no connection to this or that after the fact.

C'mon, surely you're more familiar with the political arena than your comment suggests. There's a reason why other people who are concerned about impropriety typically include a paragraph or two about not putting yourself in a position where it 'merely' looks bad.

You may also recall a recent poll conducted on your blog (which "is totally separate from my role at Total Politics and always has been").

Again, just saying.

Unknown said...

Simon Andrews @ Mindshare

Does that mean if you are not rushed off your feet booking advertising space you can take the time to learn how to spell and use basic punctuation?