Monday 23 March 2009

Labour ministers have to tackle negativity - Campbell

One of the huge issues in the US elections was where the blue collar vote was going to go, the unions were hugely influential. The primary process was hugely important in getting people involved, says Catherine Meyer of Time magazine at the CWN debate.
Will Straw says Obama sold not dialogue but change. "That's not my experience of the Labour party." In America in my experience was that people were just very grateful that you gave up your time, he adds.
Straw said : "It sometimes felt to me that Tony Blair defined himself in opposition to the unions. I don't think you have to define yourselves against the unions. We can create a narrative that brings people together."
Alastair Campbell said Blair was trying to develop a better broader dialogue with the unions, "which to be frank never happened. and I think there was faults on both sides there".
Campbell said Labour had got to shake off our defensiveness. Ministers had got to tackle the negativity and take if on, and he felt they were often met this negativity half way, rather than challenging it.
"We just absorb the negativity. "
But Campbell said there was a British culture that made it hard to ask for money without "pissing people off all the time".
"There's definitely a cultural thing there. Again we have to shake off our defensiveness."
I think it is a mixture of the old stuff and the new stuff., says Campbell of future campaigning.

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