BMP sets up poster attack on Tories as Blair stays negative

Labour is to shelve plans for a positive campaign about its policies in favour of another assault on the Government’s economic record.

Labour is to shelve plans for a positive campaign about its

policies in favour of another assault on the Government’s economic

record.



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

match.



Tory sources say their ’twin track’ approach will go positive by

featuring John Major and the Government’s economic successes before

polling day.



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