Saturday 31 July 2010

Which campaign has an "August surprise" up their sleeves?

There are so many US election obsessives in Labour politics that you can be sure that each leadership campaign knows the US campaign textbook inside out. Though there are generational differences - many were closely involved in the New Democrat/New Labour exchanges; others took part and have tried to learn more from the Obama insurgency against the Clintons; while the civil rights movements and liberal campaigning remain an inspiration to many in the party.

There was more evidence of that today, as the Ed Miliband campaign conducted what must be the first ever mass voter identification push by text message in British party elections; a tactic central to Obama's US mobilisation.

My mobile received this at lunchtime today:

Hi It's Ed Miliband. Hope you don't mind me contacting you about the Labour leadership election. Can I count on your support? Reply Y or N. To opt-out text stop to [number redacted]

The final day of July saw the last formal hustings event before the ballot papers go out at the start of September. Campaigns who have found that format constraining can now freestyle - and each needs to work out how to generate momentum. Each of the candidates is having a short break, but there is little chance of a mooted August "holiday pact" to cease campaigning taking root. The race is entering its crucial stage.

So which campaign has an "August surprise" up its sleeve - and what might it be?

Might Jon Cruddas endorse David Miliband - as had been mooted - or might he stay out of the fray, and continue to campaign for the possible future post of elected party chair?

Campaigning will get more robust in the final weeks. I doubt we would hear anything as aggressively negative as Hillary's "red phone" attack on Barack Obama, but it will be interesting to see if any campaign thinks that "going negative" will bring more gain than risk in an internal party contest?

Does any candidate have an unanticipated way to play the second preferences game in a transferable vote election, which could change the race in an unexpected way. Could any form of candidate pact help deliver the race - or could that again backfire, if it seems like the Old New Labour way of operating after the Blair-Brown years?

Are there any other August "game-changers" in this race which nobody has thought of yet?

Do share your ideas or theories with us - in the comments or by email - as to whether there are moves to look out for which could shake the election up?


T.N.T. said...

I think David Miliband will emerge, Nixon-like, with a "secret plan to end the war in Afghanistan" and that could put him "over the top" (metaphorically speaking.)

Or perhaps Andy Burnham will liven things up with a call to resist public sector cuts by arming the workers... you never know.

Anonymous said...

ed balls could say something interesting about anything

danmccurry said...

Ed Miliband's campaign is cockahoop over the text messages. "End game" is what they're saying, however, the campaign has been so boring with so little difference between the two Milibands that any lead is a soft lead. Remember what happened to Cameron's massive lead in the final few months.

Harry Barnes said...

All five candidates for the Labour Leadership have now responded positively to the campaign run by Dronfield Blather to issue “Manifestos of Intent”. On Friday Ed Balls was approached at the close of the final hustings which was held at Manchester and he accepted the proposal. This means that all five candidates have now agreed. But there are still problems to be resolved before our wish becomes reality. See –

On 16 August balloting commences. So we are keen to gain access to the finalised Manifestos for publication by then. So far we hold some initial material from two of the candidates, although if they wish they still have time to elaborate on what we hold.

Whenever all five Manifestos are available we will publish them alongside each other. If anyone falls out of the boat we will, however, publish what we then hold on 16 August. We can’t wait any longer than that.

Candidates are, of course, free to publish their own Manifestos at any time they wish. If they beat us to it, we will nevertheless stick to the above timetable.

We will also give credit where it is due to three Labour MPs who have to date helped.