By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani
Labour have launched its campaign against the Government’s austerity plans called “The Price Of Tory Failure” In two parts, the first is a website which rotates quotes of real life people illustrating how they have been negatively impacted on. Examples include:
“I work 45 hours a week, so I am not lazy! Yet each month I am out of money by the 2nd week of my monthly pay. I work hard and contribute to society, yet I am afforded little or no respect.”
“I am £44 per week worse off, I can’t afford to heat the house”
The second part of the campaign involves a leaflet that will be used as part of the Labour Doorstep and canvassing.
Whilst the campaign does simplify the economic landscape for the layman into easily digestible bite size chunks of reality, it lacks passion, is somewhat bland and feels like a result of a recent survey. The campaign does not go far enough to explain what it is that Labour would do differently, it leaves Labour open for the Tories to simply say “Yea, we know you are all hurting and it is because of the ‘mess the last Government left us in’ that we have had to make the tough decisions”.
Labour have been the best Tory campaigners thanks to Liam Byrne’s infamous “There is no money left” suicide note that Labour has yet to recover from. Why Byrne is not back-benched will always be a mystery to many in the Labour grassroots and the fact he is currently Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is further insult to the Labour Party movement. Labour have yet managed to repair this damage and until they do, any attempt to align itself with the plight of normal people affected by the economic policy of this Government will always be weakened by the actions of Byrne in May 2010.
Having a Political PR team draw up great leaflets and website campaigns is meaningless if the people publically representing the party keep singing their ‘Too Far Too Fast’ theme tune. Every week the public watches Question Time and too often is seeing a weak opposition, unable to defend with conviction the very people they are quoting in this campaign. Labour has had to be propped up by the left wing commentators on the panel whether that is Owen Jones, David Blanchflower or Medhi Hassan to install the conviction the public want to see to feel genuinely represented.
If Labour believes austerity is not working, then the opposite standpoint is not about speed and depth, it’s about a different approach entirely. I much rather Labour spent money educating itself about the real impact of austerity then trying to tell us, the people who are feeling its impact what we already know.
I do not believe that people are paying the price of Tory failure, they are not failing but very much achieving what they set out to do. Labour need to stop trying to put out a raging house fire with cups of water as it is this that is contributing to the Tory success people are paying the price for.