The Libdem’s new Labservative campaign is a very thoughtful campaign. Instead of treating the public as ignorant, the campaign blends both Labour’s and the Tories’ record to illustrate the parties’ collective failure. Consider Labour’s promises when taking office in 1997, specifically constitutional reform. 13 years later, we still have an unelected House of Lords (the ‘new’ proposals to make it fully elected by Straw – even though accountability is an issue as if passed, the peers would only face re-election every 15 years – is now facing opposition from cabinet ministers such as Mandelson), we still have first past the post system, we still have unequal party funding etc etc etc. And anyone who thinks it would have been any better under a Tory rule is naive.
A particular highlight of the Labservative’s website is the manifesto video (shown above) featuring Labour/Tory leaders from the past 65 years; the central message of the campaign is what one of the leaders says during the video: “the most important thing we stand for is re-election”. This is key to the Labour/Tory stranglehold over Number 10. Despite constant failure to fulfil their policies, the Labservatives have regained and regained power, whilst the LibDem’s who offer a chance to break the circle of distrust are seen by many as a ‘wasted vote’. In some form, the ‘wasted vote’ is true when considering the electoral system, however, overall the view is nonsensical. We finally have a chance to become an even stronger political force in the next election, thus, the campaign is key to illustrating why the LibDem’s are not a ‘wasted vote’ and instead this analogy is just something that the Labservatives want us to believe in to support their own status quo.
What is also important when considering the Labservative party is that the LibDem’s are rightfully positioning themselves as independent. We are a unique party, with a unique set of values that could, if we got too close to Labservatives (or even a split of the party i.e. Labour or Tories) if there was a hung parliament, be compromised. Thus, a message of distinction is important to the campaign.
However, how far can we play the anti-establishment card? We are no longer the protest vote we once were. Many people see us as just another variation of the Labservatives, just another splinter. Thus, key to this campaign is to make sure that we spell out our own policies and the ways in which we offer an alternative to the Labservative doctrine. But watch out for those Labour and Tories who try to claim that we are more like them or whatever! They just want to take attention from the truth of their cosy situation, they know that we are a threat to their often guaranteed power. The campaign is a generalisation, of course Labour and the Tories are not identical – instead, the campaign focuses on their fundamental similarities: their grip on power, and their failure to carry out key policies that would provide for a more equal society.
Thus, overall the campaign is one that will defiantly capture voters attention and is already receiving praise from many people who are normally our harshest critiques. Whats more, on a rather more cynical note, it will be a nice source of income – in fact, the t-shirt has rather caught my eye!