OPINION: Advertising needs Blair to be strong on Europe

Of course, you all voted Labour, didn’t you? The weird thing is that if Messrs Saatchi, Bell, Banks and Wight all came out as closet Labour supporters, it wouldn’t be that huge a shock. Such is the measure of Tony Blair’s cataclysmic effect on his own party, and the ad industry’s propensity for shameless tarting. If the Sun can change sides then anyone can, but surely the Times could have done better than a feeble ’vote Euro-sceptic’?

Of course, you all voted Labour, didn’t you? The weird thing is

that if Messrs Saatchi, Bell, Banks and Wight all came out as closet

Labour supporters, it wouldn’t be that huge a shock. Such is the measure

of Tony Blair’s cataclysmic effect on his own party, and the ad

industry’s propensity for shameless tarting. If the Sun can change sides

then anyone can, but surely the Times could have done better than a

feeble ’vote Euro-sceptic’?



Perhaps John Major was not mistaken in believing that Europe was an

issue that might sway voters. But he did think - erroneously - that the

Tories could appeal to the little Englander in us. It might have worked

if it wasn’t for the fact that half of his party, and probably Major

himself, did not believe in the message. It was yet another example of

the four-client scenario - almost the only thing Brian Mawhinney,

Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and John Major appear to have agreed

upon is that the last three couldn’t stand Mawhinney.



This failure to offer a policy on Europe allowed Labour to look strong

by default. We’ve no idea what Tony Blair’s policy is, but at least

no-one within his party disagreed with him. This is just one of the ways

that allowed the City to countenance a Labour government with a sanguine

air that even five years ago looked impossible.



And it is for a policy on Europe that the advertising and media

industries must look to Blair. The single currency notwithstanding,

cross-media ownership, technological standards, VAT on newspapers and

advertising self-regulation are just four of many issues that will be

increasingly influenced by Brussels as much as Westminster. Britain

might now be seen to influence the formulation of such policies, rather

than sulking about them.



Last week Campaign warned readers to anticipate a less ad-friendly

government.



However, if Blair can offer leadership over Europe, his good deeds there

may more than make up for a wary atmosphere in London.



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