I will forgive Jack Straw his little jibe at the expense of Burnley FC in his piece on the Tories in today’s Independent.
The Blackburn MP says he will donate two tickets to see Burnley reserves to anyone who can name a Tory councillor who has complained locally about the effect of the extra investment which has poured into schools, hospitals and other public services. Hoho.
He does however make a good point about the contrast between David Cameron and George Osborne saying Labour spent too much, and Tories around the country claiming credit for the effect of such investment at local level. He draws attention too, as Labour must never tire of doing, to the wrong calls D and G made when the global economic crisis first erupted, and to the wrong calls they are making now.
But the main purpose of his piece seems to be a warning of the avalanche of press and poster advertising which the Tories are in the process of launching. I saw my first of the posters this morning, a fairly average piece of work focussed on debt. I have to say that given the figures, and given the money they have to spend, they could have done a lot better.
The point however is less the quality than the quantity of advertising that the Tories will be sticking up on billboards around the country. Cameron is warning that there is an era of austerity ahead, although not for top earners who will be well protected by his tax policies, and certainly not for the Tory Party machine, fuelled by Belize billionaire Lord Ashcroft.
Contrary to their current message on government spending, the Tories clearly believe that if you have the money, you may as well spend it, and though there is a debate in politics about the effect of posters, the Tories certainly have a lot of money to spend. But where the money is coming from is likely to become a bigger issue as the election nears and Ashcroft’s tax status remains unclear.
Jack Straw says in his article that Cameron would rather conduct the debate of the next few months at the level of slogan and billboard message because ‘he knows that the substance of his policies will not stand up to scrutiny; that his policies stand principally to benefit the privileged few – and that the mainstream majority would end up paying the bill.
‘That is why, when Labour supports the aspirations of families from low and middle incomes, he wrongly accuses us of “class war”; and why, when Labour exposes the fact that the Tories want to spend billions on tax breaks for the three thousand wealthiest estates in our country, he criticises us for creating “dividing lines”.
‘These ridiculous claims are a deliberate Conservative smokescreen to conceal the unfairness of their policies. From record-breaking, expensive advertising campaigns to the phoney rhetoric about class war, it’s clear that Mr Cameron’s strategy is to do everything he can to deflect attention from scrutiny of what a Conservative government would do. Ultimately, regardless of whether it’s free flights from foreign companies or billboards bought ultimately from Belize, it doesn’t matter how much money Mr Cameron throws at this campaign. The closer we get to the election, the more the Tory policies will come under scrutiny.
‘And as they do so, we are confident that the choice facing the British people about the future of this country will become clear. The truth is that the Conservatives made the wrong choices on the economy: on Northern Rock and on help for businesses and families. Now they threaten to choke off the recovery. And all of this is at the same time as they pledge a tax giveaway to the three thousand wealthiest estates. Never before in the history of British elections has a political party spent so much – to help so few.’
By the end of his article, he has upped (sic) the prize to two tickets to see Blackburn Rovers first team. He calls this ‘an offer almost beyond price.’ Considering that Blackburn’s matches are regularly witnessed by thousands of empty blue seats, this is a piece of constituency-based spinology in an otherwise excellent article.
“You know how I define the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there… just to scare the shit out of the middle class. Keep ’em showing up at those jobs.”
George Carlin (ok talking about the US, still rings true here though)
And no doubt the second prize is four tickets to see Blackburn Rovers! Poster politics from the Tories, eh? I am reminded of the Barking Bard, Billy Bragg and his comments – “Wearing badges is not enough in days like these”.
Never sure how effective these poster blitzes are. They must be or else why would everyone spend so much money? Just been round the North Circular and trying to work out if I have used products or brands because of the ads. The one for Spurs season tickets made me laugh — am an Arsenal fan – but the rest were mainly big brands just wanting you to know they are big brands. So if the tories are trying to create a mood of invincibility, this might help
Every time you see a poster or an advert, think Ashcroft. Cameron hates being asked about his background and his funding, which is why Labour have to keep pressing on both
social networking (for free) has to be the way to counter this. Let’s take inspiration from Obama (even if he did spend enough to buy the Tory and Labour Parties several times over) … He did manage to use social networking to get the campaign going
As I’ve stated on here before, Hague was asked six times on the Marr show about Lord Ashcroft’s tax status (WH proposed him for the peerage) and every time fudged the question.
The tories around here were pleading poverty 12 months ago,since then we’ve had alot of tory propaganda, it will be interesting to see how many posters appear as this seat too as is probably the one Cameron is desperate to win. As I’ve also stated on here before it would be nice to see you up here AC for our fundraiser in January.
On the football points, 50 odd FC United fans turned up this morning with less than 24hrs notice to clear the outside of Gigg Lane of the snow and ice that caused Bury FC to postpone their Boxing Day game. On New Year’s Day FC United are collecting winter clothing for the homeless, (many of which are ex servicemen). If anyone wants to come along and donate you’ll receive a nice Mancunian welcome.
don’t know why they bother making posters, should just have charles clarke make the copy – just seen his ‘letter’ and printing it would save a fortune in ad agencies. whatever your politics, Brown going would be good for the labour party and the country
You say you want to talk about substance on policy and then talk about class war, poster campaigns and whether someone is a non-dom. After 12 years of Labour government why do we still have non-doms not paying tax here? Why is the upper rate of tax lower than for most of Margaret Thatcher’s time? Why has the gap between rich and poor got wider? Why have the banks been allowed to get away with huge profits based on QE input and we have to make do with a tax on their bonuses (which they will avoid)? Why do you continuously try to hide from your record?
The question I will be looking at for the next election is this – who is the most convincing on tackling our economic crisis? Who is the most honest? We can’t keep spending like this without some fall out. Or do you think we can?
If we do not deal with our huge structural deficit the impact will be disastrous on our economy, on our ability to fund the NHS and schools and on jobs. It is totally irresponsible to not face this crisis head on and I respect Cameron and Osborne for doing so, even making clearly unpopular policies like extending the age of retirement and a freeze on public sector pay prior to an election.
There is a massive credibility gap for Gordon Brown and Labour when they fail to set out how they will make cuts.
The reality is that cuts are inevitable and essential to protect our wider economy and future. The reason? The Labour government and Gordon Brown in particular failed to be prudent in the good times and save for the rainy day. It’s what the rest of us have to do!
Good article from Straw, who I felt was looking a bit tired recently (particularly on the Griffin Question Time). My feeling is that this line will have a strong pull on undecided voters – “That is why, when Labour supports the aspirations of families from low and middle incomes, he wrongly accuses us of “class war”
The only thing to do when the other side has more money is use that power against them. An Ali rope a dope strategy when every poster reminds the voter of who’s funding the campaign or that it will be difficult for the tories not to appear as if they are indulging in ‘Punch and Judy’ politics.
I worry about Labours chances in the televised debates though. For all Browns strengths he is in danger of coming across like Nixon in the Kennedy/Nixon debate (not comparing Cameron to Kennedy).
I haven’t seen the posters yet in the marginal Hove and Portslade constituency.
It has worried me that the Tories will do this, spend a great deal of money on their campaign.
Years ago I did some promotion for some night-clubs in Ireland and I came to believe that posters and flyers in large numbers was very effective.
I know there are rules about how much political parties can spend on elections but I’m not sure how they are implemented. I don’t know if promotion before the election is called is counted in this.
I think obviously it is good to keep the Ashcroft thing alive.
I worry the most about the sector of voters who don’t take a great deal of interest in politics. Whilst these are still very intelligent people they don’t get into the nitty gritty as much as people like me.
Whilst without in any way patronising the electorate I quite like a message which is “we have talent, they have money”.
I loved that Gordon Brown’s new year’s message was positive and I think that emphasising that Labour has so much talent in its cabinet is very good.
Something I worry about is that in complaining about Tory money we might look a bit like sore losers to some. I feel the talent within the Labour party which is so great must be emphasised always, to say, that’s what we’ve got.
Is it goodbye to cuts and austerity? I have read that next year a new, more optimistic David Cameron is set to be unveiled. He really is a man with thousand faces! It shows that the Tories have no consistency in their policies, and lack overall direction and fundamental convictions.
Jackie Ashley wrote in the Guardian that this election is not yet won or lost. In order to win a majority, the Tories need a huge swing. Nigel Farage has said that Ukip´s popularity might cost the Conservatives 50 seats and deprive them of the majority. Their poll lead is soft.
Michael Portillo has written that the Tory vote is piled up in safe seats.
The electoral system favours Labour. In 2005 Labour won with 35.3% of the vote.
I saw you twice on TV at Goodison Park. As name-dropping is nothing new on this site, here is my effort at it. (I am not a name-dropper – the Queen told me not to drop names!). I have so far this season seen the following well-known people on TV at Turf Moor: Sir Bobby Charlton, Fabio Capello, David Moyes, George Burley, Gary Megson, Stan Ternent and Barry Kilby. At away games I have seen Paul Fletcher and Brendan Flood of Burnley FC people.
Happy New Year to AC and his family, all regular readers and Burnley fans.