Saturday, November 11, 2006

Howard Dean signs on for Labour’s sinking ship



The Guardian reports today that Howard Dean (the 2004 Democrat presidential candidate who failed to win a single primary or caucus outside his home state of Vermont) is to advise Labour on campaigning strategy ahead of Welsh, Scottish and local elections next May.

“The Welsh, Scottish and local elections next year are our midterms," said Hazel Blears, Labour's chair. “We want to look at their experience in campaigning, getting out the vote, holding house meetings where people can come together ... You don't want to transplant American politics, but there's a lot we can share," said Ms Blears.

Labour’s enlisting of Dean, an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, in an effort to up Labour’s campaigning game is really rather strange given that the Democrats’ success in the Mid-term elections was owed largely to mobilising voters discontent about the Iraq war. The very issue which has caused many of Labour’s activists and core voters to abandon the Party. Labour are clearly desperate. Support for Labour has dropped to its lowest level in almost 20 years with the Conservatives opening up a potentially election-winning 10-point lead, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published at the end of October. The Populus poll in Tuesday’s Times shows no overall change in the Tory position (36%), but suggests that the party is proving a hit with women, 37% of whom back the Tories compared with just 31% for Labour.

It is significant also that Ms Blears, as Labour’s chair, is so focused on the campaign for the May 2007 elections-a clear indication that Blair still intends to be in office next May. A penny for glowering Gordon’s thoughts... Perhaps I am mistaken but I also thought Labour were teetering on the verge of bankruptcy (the Party admitted to £28m in loans but only £3.4m of income in donations earlier this year)….yet the enlisting of Mr Dean and efforts at reviving and modernising grassroots activism will cost money. Has Labour received a recent infusion of cash from some unknown secret donor, I wonder? Show us the money, Tony.

8 comments:

vikki said...

Paradoxical indeed.

Shotgun said...

I would say it is more likely that Dean and some of the other money spending issues are being for by the tax payer...in one way or another.

Is Dean perhaps being employed as an advisor by the Government, or a minsterial office or one of many quangos set up with unlimited amounts of our money?

istanbultory said...

"Dean and some of the other money spending issues are being for by the tax payer...in one way or another"

I have no doubts on that score. Labour is broke.Unless the trade unions are being forced to cough up the cash. This is an issue for the Tories and others to pursue vigourously.

CityUnslicker said...

Blear's as a cheerleader; a revolting thought!

Ellee said...

Doesn't Blair already have the biggest PR team in the history of British government? The appointment of Dean will hopefully spell good news for Tories, judging from his previous results.

Bel said...

Campaigning against an incumbent is a different ball game from campaigning against the opposition.

With that in mind, I wonder how well Howard Dean's campaign 'skills' as Democrat (in opposition) would work, for the benefit of Labour (in office).

Bel said...

Campaigning against an incumbent is a different ball game from campaigning against the opposition.

With that in mind, I wonder how well Howard Dean's campaign 'skills' as Democrat (in opposition) would work, for the benefit of Labour (in office).

Praguetory said...

It appears that someone has decided now would be an opportune moment to help Labour out of a sticky patch. Surely, they wouldn't try this with taxpayers' money. Maybe Dean himself is going to defer his fees - after all he is rich and is discredited in the US.