With rumours circulating that Mandelson has lured Alastair Campbell back to take a role in the election campaign, the former Downing Street spinmeister’s prognostications on campaign strategy are becoming more relevant than in the recent past. GoFourth might just be Al and Prezza’s cheer-up-the-base operation rather than a vote winning operation, but a return to Down Street would really signal taking the fight out of the party activist ghetto and to the media. Alive to the charge that Cameron and Coulson are simply copying the Blair and Campbell formula he laments “Ah, go the Pot-Kettle-Black brigade, but it is what you and TB did, got the media all squared and onside.”
He reckons a strategic Labour line of attack should be to spin that the media has fallen in love with Dave:
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.
The last election team that faced a national media in love with a candidate was Team McCain, their approach was precisely the approach Campbell is recommending, see here:
In 2008 McCain spun commercials comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and lampooning him as “the one”. Obama still won. When you are reduced to complaining that the other guy gets too good a press and taking campaign cues from a losing strategy, you really have run out of ideas…