the winners write history ….

26 May

theres a wonderful short interview on the spectators website with Jim messina.

he gets bragging rights so whether hes correct or not doesn’t seem to matter…in fact it tells me frustratingly very little. It doesn’t matter whether they were polling more accurately, the issue is why were people voting Conservative. I find it odd that according to Messina no other company uses the techniques they did, but again he’s allowed to call it. Indeed when working for Obama he was clear it didn’t matter how people were contacted so long as it could be recorded and measured.

The strange thing I found was his comments on the press. He thinks felt street is more rabid than Fox, that’s saying something. Crosby has also been getting in on the act, dissing anyone and everyone. Strangely Tim Montgomerie gets a slap, and given he used to work for IDS, he’s not a stereotypical “leftie”. Montgomerie though has a point, Crosby’s methods seem to work well when the opposition are frazzled and less so when they are not. He ran the Tories 2005 campaign and I presume he got pasted by Julie Gillard in Australia as well. Theres little positive about Crosby’s strategy, despite the rhetoric. Indeed one wonders from the interviews if they have strategy but rather responses . It reminds me of the scene in Reggie Perrin


..but what to really make of Crosby? Crosby and the wider Crosby Textor have been involved in numerous Australian elections ( fined for push polling way back ) had some involvement in New Zealand and initially looked rather like snake oil salesmen in the UK. The 2005 election with its dog whistles around immigration and lying ( or as Crosby concedes Fog horns ) made only a marginal impact on the election result , a .7% increase in vote and a campaign that on the face of it didn’t look much different from the campaign of William Hague and his core voter strategy. Except that the targeting was purely on the marginal, nothing more and nothing less. Had it worked , as it did in 2015, they would have been seen as miracle workers. Sadly it’s where FPP elections take place. Some of the campaigns , like Howard’s ” are you thinking what I’m thinking ” New Zealand Nationals iwi/kiwi ads and the 2001 claims around asylum seekers drowning their babies to get into the country have played into fear, apprehension and the dark conscious. A sort of Daily Mail of campaigns. In 2015 they did they same , the fear of some far left Armageddon run by …Scottish people…was too much for timid Englanders to live with. Layer with an anti Ed Milliband strategy ( able supported by fleet street ) and an economic fear campaign that preyed more on people’s economic illiteracy than reality and they were home. Fear might win elections but does it make good politics …or legacies. Maybe time will tell.

Crosby of course really made his name in the 2008 London Mayoral election , for which he pocketed a handsome fee. He seems from all the accounts I have read to have run a tight almost bullying grip on Johnson, who ever the public school boy seemed to lap it up.

Of course the 2015 outcome seems so predictable. A party whose leader is seen as weak or unlikable, whose tax policy looks wrong , who can’t quite land a fear message on the NHS properly and who when the thought of a coalition is put to them don’t really know how to respond , looked doomed. It did in 1992 and sadly the 3 major parties played the same roles again. As in 92 the Tories had to concentrate fear on the leader, on tax and on the economy..Labour responded just as they did then. Rather than embrace democracy and talk of the Scottish people s democratic rights they fell into the same trap, rather than embrace a new bold tax vision they stumbled and rather than deal head on with the leadership the tabloids ran it into the ground.

The 1992 result did long-term damage to the Tories, I suspect the 2015 one may as well. Major had a handier majority at the time and look what happened to that ( ill write about that separately )

Perhaps its a cycle of history, should the future generations be looking at the 2030 election and seeing the same outcome , don’t blame me.




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