I am indebted to one of the commenters on yesterday’s blog for the inspiration for today’s.
You see – I do read them; and the ones on Twitter, and the ones on Facebook. I like the comments. I like the ones from people complaining we’ve blocked their response, when it is already up there.
I love the rabid Tory ones going really agitato when I suggest Dave is nothing more than a not bad spin doctor who would not have a clue how to run a government, whose stance on the economic crisis alone was evidence of his unfitness to govern, whose foreign policy is a blank piece of paper and whose European policy – the one area he has one – consists of cuddling up to racists and homophobes as the first step in taking Britain to the margins of Europe.
So keep ’em coming, oh rabid ones, all ye who refuse to see the evidence of your own eyes – a Britain better, stronger, fairer and more modern as a result of 12 years of Labour government.
Keep ’em coming too, ye fellow believers who realise the damage a return to Toryism would do … Which brings me to my inspiration, signed only as Em.
‘People hate the media,’ she says. ‘A good sales pitch should include the notion that DC’s success with journos only points to him being the wrong man… The media alone is excited about DC. Twelve years ago the British people were alive with hope and energy to build a new Britain with TB. Nothing even remotely resembling this kind of spirit is surrounding DC.’
There is a lot in there. Let’s take the hatred of the media first. Hatred may be too strong for some, but people do not trust it as once they did, and they know that the media are players not just spectators. Their one-sided cheerleading for Cameron, as opposed to the ‘GB can do no right’ prism through which they cover the PM, could easily provoke a backlash, as the argument builds that Cameron is trying to make the debate a policy-free zone.
But the question then is whether Cameron’s success with the media can be made into a problem for him. And here Em has a point, born in an ancient rule of strategy – turn your opponents’ strengths into weaknesses. Cameron only has one strength – he has got the media slurping out of his hand.
What does it say about him that his success comes in that area? It says everything.
Ah, go the Pot-Kettle-Black brigade, but it is what you and TB did, got the media all squared and onside. One, no we didn’t … We had a fairer leveller media playing field than Neil Kinnock or John Smith, but the songs of the right have always been sung loudest because most media owners are right wing and it remains the independent media that sets the tone and the prism for the broadcasters.
Secondly, whilst TB was undoubtedly good at communications, he was good at a lot more than that – notably the two things Dave appears hesitant even to embrace. Policy. And making difficult decisions.
The power of Em’s observation is that Cameron is a mediaman. For the media. Of the media. By the media. Giving not two tosses about the public other than as the means to be delivered into power.So the Tories and the media have a shared interest in saying the game is over, and it is only a matter of time.
There is the makings of a good line of attack in here – the media love him because all he cares about is what they say about him; they’ve decided he’s home and dry … but shouldn’t the public have their say first?
Meanwhile, instead of claiming he has achieved nothing, constantly point up his one big achievement – turning the media into pussycats.
Your assertion that most media owners are right wing, is disingenuous, you courted and won Murdoch support of the labour party, and the obvious left wing bias of the BBC. Not sure if i am exactly “rabid” but i don’t see Britain as better, stronger, fairer etc… i think it is you and your labour party friends that fail to see the reality… where do i start?
10p tax band…failed.
Social security reform…failed
I could go on but I must leave space for the “rabid” reactions of the labour rebuttal department.
As for “turning the media into pussycats”… Isn’t that exactly what you did? …?
Instead of continually criticising DC I would be interested in what advice you would give him if you were his press secretary.
It was possible to project a distorted image of Tony Blair through the AC prism from inside the tent. I think you will have a harder job smearing Dave from the outside.
As for “… but shouldn’t the public have their say first?”. Lets have this General Election as soon as possible. Who knows how much more damage Gordon can do before June?
I agree with your comments, I agree with the ancient rule of strategy of turning your opponents’ strengths in to their weaknesses. However, Labour need to work on their weakness to mount a credible challenge. Labour’s media machine is broken, the policy and direction work. Without the media machine running like clockwork the message cannot reach those who vote according to the instruction of their Red-Top, or the inference of the vitriolic Daily Mail.
It’s a massive shame that the media seem to be in a position to choose our PM, and at the moment they are backing a dangerous horse, let alone the wrong one. It is, perhaps, just good fortune alone that DC’s gloss wasn’t tarnished in the expenses scandal and he didn’t become embroiled in the ensuing carnage, but then would that story have suited the owners of the Times?…
Dave always reminds me of the conman who rides into towns in those westerns selling bottles of Dr Feelgood. People buy the merchandise but by the time they turn around to complain he’s gone.
Bill Clinton won his elections on the “economy stupid”, Dave and Gorgeous George are not fit to run a burger van never mind UK plc. Labour should expose them for constantly getting it wrong. The question is will they?
I never miss ur posts. Ur daily rants about media bias set me up for the day. Wot joy to see Labour in such a state that only u and 2 jags are prepared to defend Brown. The weekend before the labour conference and only Balls has come out fighting for Labour. Pathetic.
?????? AC, when you went to Nato to turn the Kosovo communications debacle around did you do it by a strategy of attacking the (anti war) media? Hardly. Your strategy was to co-opt the media by anticipating and outsmarting it to get the outcome you needed. Gawd, this is what you did for the entire time you worked for Tony Blair.
The communications strategy you pursued with TB is exactly what is missing from this present government’s set up. The debacle of the Lockerbie bomber being the most recent prime example. Hang on, no, the most recent example is the GB non meeting with Obama being allowed to become an issue when the big story was going to be Iran nukes where GB shoulda come out looking like a hero?
In politics, whingeing at the media is the clearest signal that the cause is accepted as lost. Every time the media gets blamed, it just goes for more blood. You of all people must know that. Sigh.
The obvious question to me is: is the Government and Labour capable of putting together a proactive, disciplined communications strategy in time to save this election? If it is, it has a chance. But if you are encouraging it to think “it’s the media, stupid” is the way to go, then no chance whatever.
Our leadership needs to move up a gear or two if it’s to succeed in exposing Call-me-Dave’s shallowness and the media’s connivance therein. Attacking him as a toff won’t do; a large section of the population is more than happy to be ruled by toffs!
It’s a shame that so many in our party seem to get swept along by media storms. They seem to have surrendered setting the agenda to the Westminster hacks. And there are too many too eager to have their 15 seconds of fame by spouting the media’s current line whenever a TV camera comes near.
It was heartening to learn of the PM telling the journalists who tried to blow up the “Brown snubbed by Obama” nonsense that it was about time they learnt a thing or two about how such international gatherings really worked.
Perhaps he can inspire some others in the team to be less in awe of the media…
You state take the hatred out of the media,why, you spewed venom for 9 years with tb, so why shoudnt the press do it now, we have a free press thank goodness.and why dont we trust labour , well because of the poison coming out of it for 12 years.
Thank you for reading comments, Alastair.
You add an important when you say that TB had the full package and DC doesn’t. In fact, DC’s lack of dimension may contribute to his appeal to the media. TB was media savvy leader with a great team to communicate his image but, as you said, there was substance behind that. I’m sure this is something we can drive home to the public at large because once attention has been brought to it, the idea that there is little behind DC’s carapace of confidence and smiles becomes obvious.
Five nil at Spurs — your boys took a hell of a beating. Hope Labour’s fightback is a bit better than Burnley’s. Mind you, you played some nice football.
Gordon Brown made unnecessary concessions when he became leader -.e.g “Topical Debates” in the Commons -giving impetus to media-inspired populist chatter over and above serious policy that in most cases benefited potential “floating voters”.
Outflanking the Tories from the right worked for years -but it was not a panacea for electoral difficulties -and getting on the “anti-immigrant” bandwaggon was a step too far -playing right into Tory hands.
Is there an opportunity to use the leverage the Govt has over the banks to benefit “The many -not the few”? The Labour Pary has to make an “offer” to the electorate that is materially better for the majority than the corresponding Tory offer. Then -it has to fight every headline again to communicate this offer. Then -it has to pray for a suprise “shock” that weakens Cameron and the Tories.
What niggled you the most, exactly? Saturday, resorting to a new serif font this morning at 10:30, meant I’d no need to scuttle round, hunting for my reading glasses. So, I felt enormously grateful, thank you
But I soon sensed a tonal difference in your blog, a peevish testiness, perhaps at the peasants you’re expected to put up with, folks who hide behind implausible pen-names, even mere initials, and yet still expect you to take their belligerent requests, comments and twitters seriously
Any fretful tetchiness you feel as a result, as psychotherapists confirm, can creep up on you, unawares. Left unacknowledged, these “stacked hurts” eventually gather the capacity to discolour moments in your life. Might be you feel misunderstood, that wouldn’t surprise me. Perhaps, deep down, increasingly disillusioned, but not in a position to vent that change in public. Above all, feeling inadequately appreciated for all the time, effort and pro bono work you put into any causes or politics you champion
Then, when you laid out the extent of the trash comms you receive daily – emailings, tweets, abusive n rough stuff – I realised you must feel at times like shoving the “reject the lot, damnit” button. Completed with a canned message to “firk off forever” – at least, that’s my ideal suggestion
As the day passed, me fretting deeper, perhaps someone’s upset the gentleman. And, if moi, it’s no wonder he still hasn’t actioned my FaceBook Friend invitation request yet. Maybe you never will now
Still, not all out there are capable of following your shining example, sir, and – step up, juiced, emotionally juice – to rise above the bullshit others peddle and become the Venerable Masterpiece your Historic Destiny intended
Nope, by contrast, many of us are but feckless, feeble-minded, pie-throwing pondlife, unworthy of the current Mind Champion 2009’s attention, let alone your polite consideration
I believe you belong among Heroes. Heroes like those in Churchill Square, Brighton this Sunday from 10am till 6pm, at the “Time to Change” stand, all challenging the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues, the same way you yourself do. We’ll “un-strange any stranger” that passes, treat everybody like celebrity on VIP red carpet, and guarantee you blag plenty of freebies, whole goodie-bags full. That excited, committed and passionate, we’re convinced we do the right thing, whether you’re Labour, Tory or simply Dunno, none of that matters as much
Just keen to celebrate any perceived progress in the right direction, or other South Coast record-breaking achievements. For example, by Saturday evening, Portsmouth Football club will have chalked up the worst start to any footie-season since Queen Victoria ruled over the British Empire
Nearly Christmas, still haven’t won a game yet. But that’s still achievement worth celebrating. Historical. Factual. And so pathetic, I reckon you, your son Calum and the Burnley team visiting Fratton Park in December can count on taking home all three points already
We (Burnley) can´t be expected to suddenly be able to beat teams who have spent £80-120m on players. It will take 3-4 years until our young prospects are capable of beating top sides away from home on regular basis. It would help if we could build an Academy at Gawthorpe. We will never be able to compete with transfer fees and wages of bigger clubs, so our only hope is to start producing our own stars again.
P.S. Ewood Park appears to be just the right place to put our away form in order. We did not stay down forever as they wished!
‘all ye who refuse to see the evidence of your own eyes – a Britain better, stronger, fairer and more modern as a result of 12 years of Labour government.’
Maybe I could borrow your rose tinted specs ?
One of the reasons Labour cannot win the next election is their refusal, particularly at the highest level, to listen to the people who they want to vote for them. Endlessly telling us what a great job this government is doing isn’t going to work anymore.
Fortunately we can see the evidence of our own eyes. Perhaps you should take a few days away from your millionaire lifestyle and rejoin the real world !!!
Totally agree. Great post.
Thing is they have absolutely covered every eventuality – I think. They were so enraged by losing last time that they have embraked on what Tories do best – dirty tricks behind closed (media) doors…
GB’s got his work cut out playing up anything through the prism of the media over the next 7 months. They have absolutely saturated the influential forums and they’re a slippery evil bunch. Methinks it’s gonna have to be back to old skool campaigns, big ones, which I accept is anathema in this bloggy age but at least you won’t find a Tory troll hanging off an outdoor billboard (“Hang on that gives me an ide….”)
Key themes to focus on…
They’ve Peaked And They Are Genuinely Frantic In Their Excitement That It’s A ‘Done Deal’ – Pride Coming Before A Fall And All That.
The Bullingdon BlueBlood Boys And Their Divine Right To Rule.
CamerCon – Blushes A Lot. Has That Look Of Head Boy Irritation When Questioned. And An INcredibly Plummy Accent.
The Class War Inciting Vanity Behind CamerCon’s Ancestral Past – (Lives in Suburbia Just Like You Or Me But Family Used To Own Buckingham Palace’ etc)
Osborne – Looks Like A Evil-Eyed Untrustworthy Shit. Is One. Basically.
Basically yeah – it all comes down to a Class War Thing. They’re Blue Blooded Etonites Of The Worst Kind. So the battle? And the war? it has to be a Class Thing. I mean, when it really comes down to it, that’s what the Labour Versus Tory thing has always been about.
And some of the red bloods need to wake up.