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Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.

Alistair Campbell this time, with some nasty negative campaigning.

Well there it is – the Tories have published their manifesto today and all around you can almost hear the country’s civil servants asking “how on earth do we turn that into a policy programme for government?”

Thin or what?

Well they never managed to turn your 2001 manifesto into a policy programme for government, did they Alistair? After all, you made lots of commitments in that which you’ve completely failed to keep, and several that you’ve done a complete U-turn on. So I don’t think you can start insulting other party’s manifestos when you can’t even live up to your own pitifully low standards. And I notice that you chose the word ‘thin’ very carefully, since you’re about to launch the smallest manifesto in British electoral history, what with it being pocket-size and all.

I suggest we move on. Moving on is something you’re keen to do, after all.

But more than that, the Tory “manifesto” is dangerous. Economically dangerous above all. As Tony and Gordon said yesterday, you cannot cut tax and increase spending and reduce borrowing with the same money at the same time.

I think you’re a bit simple. I don’t necessarily agree with the Conservative economic plans, but I do know that they’ve been fully costed, and, unlike Labour’s plans, several economic experts agree with their proposals.

How can you cut tax, increase spending, and reduce borrowing, all at the same time? By reducing government waste, and then splitting the money you save between those three policies. Was that difficult to understand? Probably not enough spin on it for you.

I remember the agonies we went through in opposition to make sure Labour policies stacked up and the sums added up. It is apparent that Mr Howard and the ludicrous Letwin have shown nothing like the rigour Tony and Gordon did back in 1997.

Such agony that you promised not to raise taxes, and then – erm – did. That doesn’t sound much like a policy that adds up to me. And it’s nice to see that you made all of your policies add up in 1997. Did you not bother in 2001, or indeed this time?

The Tory manifesto, the thinnest in history, confirms that the Tories intend to fight a totally negative, small bore campaign focusing on a series of negative messages and without even an attempt to put a positive vision for the future.

Point to the positive vision that you’ve emailed me up to now, and I’ll give you a banana.

It is a campaign based on fear and grievance.

This from the party that says that our whole country is at risk if we vote Conservative. That sounds like a campaign based on fear to me. And is it not right for the opposition to have grievance with the government? Most of the people of this country have.

You can see it from their posters and the messages that come pouring out of Mr Howard, his hidden away Shadow Cabinet and “immigrant” Australian campaign managers.

Hidden away members of the party? Doesn’t that describe you? Hidden away until your role in the election was exposed? And what about the internet guru who’s registed Michael Howard domain names, and was shamed in America for comparing George W Bush to Hitler? The Labour party won’t even tell us what he’s doing!

To call the Tory party campaign managers ‘immigrants’ is a cheap shot and you know it. The Conservative party, whose immigration policity I personally abhor, are not saying that immigration should halt, which is the myth you are helping to perpetuate. They have different, some think more sensible, policies than you. That does not mean that your policy is better, and it doesn’t mean that their’s is better. It invites reasoned comparison. Not dishonest lies.

And which memebers of the Shadow Cabinet have been hidden away? I’ve seen most of them on a number of political shows. If anybody’s hiding a member of the cabinet, then it’s your party hiding it’s head, by featuring him on only a handful of election materials.

But the Labour Party can still take nothing for granted. The Tories have a lot more money than we do. They have more for posters, more for campaign materials, more for organisation.

So the Conservatives can actually do some things better?

They have several newspapers led by the vile (interestingly an anagram of evil) Daily Mail willing to pour out free pro-Howard propaganda and ridiculous anti-Labour bile for them.

The Daily Mail is vile? Was it vile when it supported you vociferously in 1997? Was it vile when you took nearly every policy cue from them? Or is this a new development, now it’s gone all Conservative on you?

So we have to use every way we can to get over positive messages about our record and above all our future programme for a third term if we are elected.

Well you’re not doing very well. I have yet to hear anything positive from you. Everything has been a slur on the Conservatives. Even your election slogan is a dig, with it’s ‘not back’ tag.

Party election broadcasts are a well known way of trying to get over a message during the campaign. Tonight the first is aired. It focuses on our greatest strength, the economy, and does so by recording a series of conversations between Tony and Gordon. They are the two main architects of New Labour and drivers of progress in the last eight years.

I was supposed to believe they were spontaneous conversations? That whole broadcast was a joke. It couldn’t have been a more clearly crafted attempt to show Blair and Brown as united if you’d put up a caption saying ‘We’re not fighting’. And nobody believes it. In fact, nobody believes anything Labour says any more. And, hilariously, that’s largely your fault.

Watch it. Get your friends to watch it. I defy anyone who does to say afterwards that Mr Howard and Mr Letwin should take over from them.

It didn’t even begin to show anything that would make me favour Mr Blair over Mr Howard, or indeed Mr Brown over Mr Letwin. It did provide some light entertainment though, with the poor acting and Mr Blair’s steely resolve not to smile. After all, the focus groups don’t like smiling.

Best wishes,
Alastair Campbell

I don’t think I even need to reiterate my personal feelings about you. The worst aspect of your nature is that you’re not even very good at what you do, as I’ve detailed before. You symbolise everything that’s wrong with Labour. But, just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s what I think of your role in the election campaign.

I said it then, and I’ll say it now. Labour should be ashamed to have you back on board, and it can do nothing but harm to their campaign.

This 493rd post was filed under: Election 2005.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th March 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

British donations top £32m mark (published 31st December 2004)

Photo-a-day 325: Big wheel (published 20th November 2012)

QuizCross (published 11th January 2013)

Photo-a-day 33: Blue sky (published 2nd February 2014)


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