Sunday 27 September 2009

The underdog strategy

That Labour are the underdogs in the election - but relishing a fight with Conservatives who believe a David Cameron coronation is in the bag - will be a constant refrain at the Brighton conference this week.

Perhaps Gordon Brown will take the stage on Tuesday to the theme from Rocky.

Peter Mandelson has made the "underdog strategy" central to Labour's thinking about the campaign. Following through on this means an "insurgency campaign" - and shaking off the tendency of a government to campaign in a cautious and risk averse way. Talking about being the underdog is not enough.

As Malcolm Gladwell has set out, underdogs can win a surprising amount of the time, as long as they adopt game-changing strategies which deny Goliath the advantage which he would have in a conventional contest.

The "underdog strategy" was set out in a Fabian Review editorial back before Christmas 2007 - some nine months before the Prince returned from across the water to bolster the Brown government.

The model was not so much Rocky, not John Major, but Harry Truman, whose 1948 Presidential shock victory remains the greatest political fightback of all time.

Underdog watch in this morning's newspapers ....

Peter Hain in The Independent cites John Major's 1992 soapbox fightback - showing how what was once among Labour's most traumatic defeats has now become a curious source of inspiration.

Peter Mandelson tells the Sunday Mirror that the Conservatives are "hugely arrogant. They are taking their victory for granted. They believe they have it in the bag. They can hardly be bothered to offer ideas or policies for people to consider or debate because they just think that will open them up to criticism.”

UPDATE, 2.20pm

Well, it's officially underdog fightback week .... This is Gordon Brown's "welcome to Brighton" email to party members and supporters this afternoon.


Greetings from a bright, sunny and beautiful Brighton.

As we gather at this conference we go into it clearly as the underdogs.

Over the coming days I want you to take confidence from the ambitious policy agenda that we will set out.

I want you to take confidence from our belief that although we live in a world of great crises, both political and economic, it is the values of our party that offer the solutions to the big challenges the world faces.

And I want you to take confidence from the knowledge that we took the decision as a Party to intervene to help people through this recession not just because it was the right thing to do but because it is in our instincts to do so.

The Conservatives took the decision to do nothing - to let the recession take its course. And today they would use the financial crisis as an excuse to cut support for jobs and families, because that is in their instinct too.

You and I both know that we are now in the fight of our lives.

But as a Party we also know that our greatest achievements have never come easy. From the NHS to the minimum wage – our greatest battles have been hard fought and they have been hard won.

So my message to you as we begin our Conference is simple - get ready for the fight of your lives, not for our own sakes, but because the fight we face is for Britain’s future – a fight we can, and must, win.

Best wishes


1 comment:

Silent Hunter said...

I think the "constant refrain" in the back ground will be the revelations about Baroness Scotland and her cleaner . . . and the Cash for Safe Seats debacle that's coming to light.

Face it Sunder; Labour are just plain corrupt, through and through.

I don't think there are many who relish another Tory Government, but frankly, when you have "New Nazi" in power for 12 long and bloody years (Iraq & Afghan Wars) you get to the stage where absolutely ANYONE BUT LABOUR will do.

The poetic justice is, that Labour are going to be reduced to third party status (if they're lucky!) under the FPTP voting system.
The irony is, that had they kept their 1997 Manifesto promise to bring in PR; they wouldn't be staring into the political abyss right now.

But what's BAD for Labour is BLOODY BRILLIANT for the rest of the poor electorate who have been forced into financial hardship by the very people they looked to for help in 1997.

For that alone, I hope the Labour Party are utterly destroyed at the coming General Election.