Last month Labour were advertising for a “Director of Attack and Rebuttal” and today we are seeing the first fruits of a more aggressive, New Labourish, approach. The media grid saw them first up the digital output on social media featuring Rishi as the face of tax hikes, letters to Lobby hacks “signed by Rishi” were hand delivered yesterday morning, subverting his own vanity for branding against him. Then they put Sunak in the frame with a classic-of-the-genre photo opportunity outside the Treasury, putting his face (masks) next to oversised tax bills, setting the backdrop for newspaper picture desks. Literally putting his face on the tax hikes he unwisely scheduled for yesterday, weeks before crucial local elections. Then they dropped the non-domiciled wife story to a sympathetic hack for a scoop.
The story is not even new, Private Eye flagged up his wife’s status in March last year. It works today because of the timing and the media context. The Independent’s front-page “exclusive” is a re-hash of this Private Eye story:
Has Rishi Sunak's wife ever claimed non-domicile status that would help her avoid tax on the millions she makes from her family firm? The Treasury declines to say. Full story in the new Private Eye, on sale today.— Private Eye Magazine (@PrivateEyeNews) March 3, 2021
Last night following the story breaking, Amanda Platell said she thought “Rish Sunak’s ambitions are dead in the water“. As a former adviser to William Hague she knows a thing or two about thwarted premiership hopes. All in all it is a sign of a re-invigorated Labour media operation, usuing tried and tested media strategies with the ruthlessness required to win. Brutally effective. Even the mafia don’t hit the wives…