15 April 2007

What happened to the spin machine that we knew and loathed?

Labour used to known as the Party of slick PR, but it seems to have lost its edge, according to the Sunday Herald.

In their latest broadcast, an attack ad against the SNP, they claim to here the testimonies of 'working families' who are concerned of the SNP's plans. Unfortunately, a member of these families is Murdo Mathison, a former Deputy General Secretary of Scottish Labour. The other families have been described as 'Labour sympathisers' but the Party won't say if they're card carrying members.

They probably are: I've recognised a few members in previous broadcasts, and the phenomenon is by no means confined to Labour. A few people are complaining of deceit, but I wouldn't go that far, mainly as parties do use activists in their ads, though usually as extras, or at most, rubbish actors. It's rare for them to be portrayed as working families, but if they're families, and they work (even as the Deputy General Secretary of the Labour Party), then it's not really a deceit as such.

This is, however, gross stupidity. Mathison is someone that the operators - the key politicians and the press - will spot. He may not be recognised my ordinary members of the public (who are more likely to recognise one of the randoms from the rest of the broadcast), but after this, they will. Mainly because the key politicians and the press will go, 'Oh, look! One of their working families is a high-ranking apparatchik!' I can say this confidently as they have already done so.

As well as that, one of the biggest complaints levelled at Labour - and at any government in office for a long time - is that they're out of touch with ordinary people. Drafting in party officials for vox pops doesn't do much to counter that charge.

And most of all, this is a huge coup for the SNP. Instead of talking to ordinary people, and presenting their opinions, the Labour Party have turned to their own workers. The kind of people who are obviously going to badmouth the SNP and/or independence. So the SNP can now say that Labour don't trust ordinary people to criticise them - that they didn't even bother to ask people what they thought in the first place. They could argue that not only are Labour out of touch, they don't particularly care about getting in touch.

In short, Labour have goofed on this one. Next time they should pick apparatchiks from further down the ladder.


Richard Havers said...

It seems beyond belief that Labour can be so stupid. Their broadcast about ten days ago was so boring and dull that it would have caused a frenzy of zap activity.

Although hats off to Labour in getting Alistair Campbell out of the cold store to organise the William and Kate story to divert some attention.

Will said...

Maybe they were just trying to get people to watch the broadcast, if for no other reason than to 'Murdo-spot'. Can't see it working though.

As for Wills, a friend of mine and I have a theory about that whole matter. I'd air it but 1) we have no proof, 2) I'd get my arse sued for it and 3) I'd never be able to set foot in St. Andrews ever again.