Monday, April 09, 2007

What happened to rapid rebuttal?

The Blair Era has a blog from a Millbank staffer working in the campaign team in 1997, which is entertaining and well worth a read.

One thing that we used to do but seem to have given up on is rapid rebuttal, where a response to any negative story or pronouncement by the Tories was devised and circulated within hours. I was wondering why this was. For example, when the Times did the story about Gordon Brown taxing the pensions, it was days before the rebuttal (it was to encourage firms to increase investment, and anyway pensions are in trouble mostly because of the 'pension holidays' which companies took when the funds were in surplus). I get that rapid rebuttal can be harder while in government than when facing John Major, but this story had been around for years and years.

The theory I have which worries me is that we used to do rapid rebuttal because we wanted to win really badly, and now we don't do it because it is more fun to play at internal fighting and blaming scapegoats for when we get beaten. This is especially bad when the Tories and the newspapers appear to have rediscovered the benefits of co-ordinating their attacks on Labour.


At 10:48 pm , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...

I think you're dead right, and I can't claim to be entirely innocent myself.

We can put the mechanisms in place (we discussed a couple of ideas on the forum), but who's interested enough to volunteer to man the bell/do the research? Hopefully someone - we shall see.


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