Labour is to shelve plans for a positive campaign about its
policies in favour of another assault on the Government’s economic
Tony Blair, the party leader, originally asked campaign strategists to
draw up proposals to promote Labour’s programme, but he has been
persuaded that the party should continue with ’attack advertising’.
An anti-Tory blitz is due to break in a fortnight on 1,500 poster sites.
It follows Labour’s controversial campaign claim last month that the
Tories would put VAT on food if re-elected.
While Labour officials insist the party will advertise its own policies
before the general election, its decision to remain on the attack will
fuel the political row over negative campaigning.
Blair risks accusations of ’double standards’ after promising that his
party would not resort to American-style negative attacks and drawing up
plans for a Labour government to restrict election campaign budgets
(Campaign, 24 January).
One Labour source said: ’There is a desire to put a positive case, but
the feeling is that positive does not really work.’ He recalled that BMP
DDB came under fire from within the Labour Party over a ’bland’ campaign
on its five pledges last autumn.
A Tory official said: ’It is clear Labour is running the more negative
campaign.’ He added that the Tory effort would be more positive than at
the 1992 election.
The Tories continued their ’red tear’ offensive this week when M&C
Saatchi unveiled a poster and press campaign featuring a patriotic lion
and the words, ’New Labour. Euro Danger.’
Tory strategists are convinced that ads that work at ’an emotional
level’ are more effective than those such as Labour’s claims on tax,
which they believe the public dismiss as part of the parties’ slanging
Tory sources say their ’twin track’ approach will go positive by
featuring John Major and the Government’s economic successes before