Sunday, July 20, 2008

Election campaigns: It's all about the glamour

The Sunday Times sent a journalist to work undercover on the Labour campaign for Glasgow East. You can read the resulting article here, though it is not advised for those with an allergy to insufferable smugness.

The shocking revelations included:

*The Labour Party does not ask detailed policy questions before allowing volunteers to deliver leaflets for them!

*The campaign office was not high tech!

*It is sometimes hard to make sense of the maps that you get given for leafleting and find all the streets on the list!

*Some Labour Party campaigners are inclined to be pessimistic about whether Labour will win! Campaign staff were telling activists that the election might be close!

*The worst thing anyone said about our candidate was “She’s nice, just don’t get on her wrong side. Scary woman.” Also, she makes jokes which our hero doesn't appear to have understood.

*Volunteers don't get reimbursed for petrol expenses, and aren't encouraged to hang around the campaign centre having their lunch!

Apparently this means that Labour are in disarray, and it is Trouble for Gordon Brown, which is probably just as well, as that was what his editor was going to print regardless of what his investigations had turned up.

Brendan the journalist also reports that there are 1,000 SNP activists and they get free food and drink. He knows this because one of their activists told him (good fact check skills, after all, it's not like the SNP has any previous form in claiming more activists then they actually have).

Maybe things are different for other political parties, though I very much doubt it. But stripping away the hack journalism and the immense self-regard of the author, what Brendan describes are things which happen in every election campaign, win or lose.

But there is one feature of modern election campaigns which was missing in his account. Ever since the invention of the mobile phone, there are always some people who for whatever reason find themselves having to go out canvassing or leafleting, but know that their talents are wasted on that sort of thing. So they spend as much time as possible taking Very Important Phone Calls and as little time as possible actually doing anything useful. But I rather suspect that they are Brendan's sort of people.


At 10:49 pm , Anonymous Ben said...

Apparently the office was full of dirty plastic cups.

And his fellow activists (well, I suppose the word "fellow" isn't quite right, as that would imply a somewhat absent sense of humanity and cameraderie to the presumably 23-year-old Master Perring) were "dressed in hoodies and grubby jumpers". Fuck me. Labour really is shafted, isn't it? The lack of Christian Dior will swing the tide. A sartorial electorate is an informed electorate, after all, and I for one would never vote for someone turning up on my doorstep dressed in Next. Couldn't they at least have gone to Monsoon? Why does the party not reimburse that sort of expense? What a bloody shambles.

At 3:14 am , Anonymous Pink said...

why infiltrate the Labour campaign... surely in the interests of balance there should have been a reporter embedded in each campaign ...why target Labour in particular?


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