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There now follows … a good whack at Cameron

Posted on 14 May 2009 | 5:05pm

It will be very hard for the parties to get much attention for their election broadcasts amid the ongoing expenses fiasco.

Which is a pity, because I have had a sneak preview of Labour’s tonight, and it is very nice finally to see a decent -sized boot going into David Cameron. Well, not a boot actually, but a fist, the film cutting between a Tory Boy whacking a punchbag and clips of people warning what a DC government would mean.

I’ve been banging on for ages about the need for Labour to start landing a few blows on Cameron. He has been getting it easy from the media for so long, but frankly he has been getting it too easy from Labour too.

The broadcast highlights the threat he would pose to help for the unemployed, support for families, extra help for pensioners, health and police budgets, all contrasted with the pledge he has made to introduce inheritance tax changes designed to help a small number of wealthy families and individuals.

In normal circumstances, there might even be a bit of a row about the nature of the braodcast, with the thump-thump imagery and the claims being made. But the media are on a very one track mind at the moment.

Amid declined TV bids today, for example, one from Channel 4 News who tell me excitedly that they will be doing an outside broadcast from Westminster and devoting most of the programme to expenses – like it was the American elections or something.

To be fair, it is a mighty mess, but that does not mean all other issues stop existing. Also, I see the first to lose a position is DC aide Andrew Mackay over claims concerning property belonging to him and Mrs Mackay. She happens to be fellow MP Julie Kirkbride, formerly a journalist on the Telegraph, the paper that is breaking these stories day by day. Funny they didn’t break this one eh?

Anyway, for anyone wanting relief from expenses, and wanting to be reminded of what the Tories are really about, try BBC 1 at 6.55 tonight, or ITV at 5.55 or BBC 2 at 18.25.

If you miss it, it will apparently be going up on the website once it has gone out on the box.

Of course the expenses saga has been dreadful for all the main parties. But come June 4, and come the next general election, choices still have to be made about who the country wants in power. It is not just about who claimed how much for what, wretched though the whole business has been.

  • Simon Courtenage

    No disrespect, Alaistair, but your description of the Labour broadcast sounds like it’s totally naff. Tories and punchbags? Not subtle is it? How do you think it will resonate with people after news of the Elliot Morley scandal? My guess is not at all.

  • Frank W

    About bloody time!

  • Elishabet

    Did you mean the website instead, perhaps?

  • Charles Litster

    Hi Alastair

    Can you please confirm the website address for cameronconservatives it appears to be a parked domain?

    Best wishes

    Charles Litster

  • Paula Fallon

    I agree the expenses situation is serious but as they always do, the media are now losing any sense of perspective. I was glad to hear Stephen Fry trying to talk a bit of common sense. And I hate the way the papers, left and right, seem to be willing an upsurge for the BNP as the next chapter of what they all see merely as a story. If people think politicians are not what they used to be – and I am not so sure – journalists are certainly worse than they have ever been

  • AC

    Apologies Charles – (s after cameron) Have corrected in blog. Thanks.

  • George

    Problem is the mud is sticking and as Labour is the government, they get it worse. Also Mackay gets cancelled out by Morley and it all just looks horrible. It must be dreadful for the people trying to campaign at the moment.

  • Working Class Tory isn’t working, or isn’t live.

    I think this advert sounds a bit cr*p. I mean, you’ve just described a few minutes worth of negativity about the Tories based on perceptions and playing on fears of people about the Thatcher years etc. Not only that, you’re saying its going to be about “what a Conservative government would mean”. What would a Labour govt mean? Why not try and be positive?

    I know exactly why. You’ve lost already and you’re just about trying to cling on to your heartlands still prejudiced because of Thatcher.

  • Andy Millward

    To be honest, I’m sick of adversarial politics and politicians tearing lumps out of one another for personal gain. The expenses row was at least a moral and ethical issue with all sides on equally dodgy ground. As such it was a welcome change but did prove why voters don’t trust any politicians. The trust issue has not gone away – my advice to all MPs is that they live in a very fragile greenhouse so avoid throwing stones. Much better to proven that they can govern effectively and get the policy right to get the country out of recession rather than indulging in yet more petty squabbling.

  • Tory Teacake

    If I’m honest, slagging off the Tories just comes across as desperate, as if Labour has nothing to say and thus has resorted to an anti-Tory campaign rather than one that gives any reason why people should positively vote Labour.
    I agree with above posts, that given the events of the past week, I don’t think it will wash.

  • maas101

    ” Also, I see the first to lose a position is DC ”

    Or the first to take steps to sort the mess out. Gordon is too damn scared to wield the knife because he knows he’s hanging by a thread anyway. To be able to run a country you need to be able to make a decision or two. Something Gordon seems profoundly incapable of doing.

  • Neil Sharpe

    Even if people do not like negative campaigning, you MUST draw attention to the other side’s weaknesses and policy failings. The Tories in government never ever stopped attacking Labour and yet Labour seems to have stopped attacking the Tories. What Cameron is hoping is that there are no memories of life under his party the last time, and no pressure on him to unveil policy. It has to be the other parties who put him under pressure on this. The media sure as hell won’t

  • Alan Quinn

    Ally, we have the tories trying to wreck the minimum wage. In government they will try to withdraw from the social chapter and a guaranteed 6 wks holidays will go.

    Today the government announced the order worth £1.4 billion for more Typhoon jets from BAE for the RAF, (why GB didn’t announce it yesterday at PMQ’s is another matter, his advisors are truly shite), that will sustain 40,000 skilled UK jobs, we have £1.25 billion to expand the Metrolink tram system in Gtr Manchester, we have Ed Milliband’s statement on CCS, yesterday the Thames Array wind farm came a step closer (90 sq miles of it).
    Good news, but lost in the expenses row.

    Ally, if you can tell GB to order the new Nimrod MRA4 aircraft to replace the old Nimrod spyplanes instead of buying American like the MoD wish to (it’s called Project Helix, the budget is already in place). Other than that the Sun, Torygraph, Mail, Express and Co will ram “British jobs for British workers” down GB’s throat when the MoD orders an inferior aircraft from Boeing.

  • Diversity

    You usually talk up Labour Party efforts. But for this film you are describing a message to the undecided voter which will read: ‘Cameron is decisive; he has policies for the tough times ahead. And Labour have nothing to say about my local Council (or Europe) which is what this election is about.’ Ouch!

    If all it is trying to do is get out the lazy Labour voter, maybe OK. But if you want to land blows on Cameron, why not start with the man who has been close to him for years, McKay?

  • Donna

    Why don’t you call it “The Great Clunking Fist?” Rather apt, and it will remind us of the Prime Miniser every time we see it.

    Not a word about about the EU or Europe. Not a word about the Lisbon ConTreaty and the reneging on the promised Referendum; not a word about Labour’s record or how it sees our role in the EU …. nothing remotely positive to say at all.

    just highly dubious and negative claims about the Tories future plans for the UK (not even Europe).

  • kenny murphy

    Alastair you know better than most that perception is ultimately everything. Just about everyone i know (and i move in mainly Labour circles!)is bemused at Gordon Brown our PM setting up commissions and committees to look into this and review that. He won’t even confirm that he’ll accept the outcome of the the Sir Christopher Kelly investigation.

    This is compared to Cameron who looks busy. Looks like he’s meaning business. He’s making decisions. As we know with Thatch and then TB the British public love firm leadership.

    And that unforunately is the reality of the situation we face. Not the true reality of the PPB.

    Sad but Labour needs leadership and GB is not up to the job.

  • CPW

    Ah, the big clunking fist. Now, what does that remind me of?

    Oh dear.

  • Ian Eastwood

    Yes take the Torys to task on policys they are few and far between, but G.B has to strike with a firm hand on the expenses issue. I for one are starting to belive he is an unlucky PM and bad luck can bring you and others down.

  • Ollie Cromwell

    I wouldn’t gloat too much about MacKay on the day that two Labour peers are found guilty of abuses and are to be suspended from the Lords (the first time since the civil war). The same day that a former Labour minister is suspended from the PLP for claiming interest on a non-existent mortgage.

    Talk about foot in mouth.

    …and just wait a couple more hours to see what the Telegraph has in store for Labour as it exposes one of the highest ministers of state.

    Didn’t you box at one time? Talk about leading with your chin.


  • Michael

    Oh dear Alistair, as a noted strategist I fear you are completely missing the mood here. This reads like a Kevin MacGuire column – and I thought you were rather better than that. We appear to be entering an age of comparative austerity. Labour should go back to it’s moral, frugal, methodist roots to have any chance from here – Westminster’s current bunch now resemble the court of King Louis XV. And we know what happened to him.

  • Charles Litster

    Hi Alastair

    Thanks for taking note of my comments.

    But although you have fixed the text a huperlink as two parts

    That is

    a) The textual part that bit you can see
    b) The hyperlink address that you can’t until you hover over the text – this then appears in your browser status bar

    It is this b)part that is still faulty. You will see there is no s after the cameron

    It would be nice if you could fix.

    Thanks again.

    Best wishes


  • Bri

    These tactics did not work at the Crewe & Nantwich bye-election and will not work here.
    I think there’s plenty of millionaires on the Labour side eg. Shaun Woodward (complete with butler)so what!!

    You are going back to the days of Kinnock/Scargill and it won’t wash today.
    Everyone can see Labour/Tories they are all the same.

    As for GB he’s running round like a blue arsed fly playing catchup with Cameron

  • Laney

    I bet this week had driven you mad!


  • wyrdtimes

    While we’re on the subject of the blog – why not move to a more standard layout? I realise the brief was probably to create something unique but blogs are generally all similar in layout because that layout works.

    Scrolling little boxes do not work. This particular format doesn’t do the visitor any favours.

    Someone at Silverfish should have advised you better.

  • Trevor Malcolm, Portsmouth Hampshire


    There, see? And what’d I tell you, Your Royal Highness?

    As this morning the media unveils the winner of the prestigious Mind Award for 2009, until now, respected novelist, Mr Alastair Campbell

    But from today on, better known as Mind Champion of the Year

    Yep, the mental healthcare equivalent of the Swedish winning entry in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, ’tis all yours

    So, you’re fun, like ABBA now, congratulations, first place

    With this year’s Mind contest just concluded, votes cast and counted, result announced and welcomed: unanimous. The verdict must have been unanimous

    Although I did hear Mind assembled such an outstandingly high calibre line-up of quality nominations, it meant a couple of pie-throwers favoured the other runners n riders, sadly

    For example, according to reliable rumour, both your partner, Fiona Millar, and your daughter Grace had fun casting their votes in favour of the others nominated, bless ’em

    That took guts, girls

    But me, I refuse to let family squabbles at breakfast tables – like hearing Daddy’s come first/won something important yet again – discolour my mental health awareness week

    Or allow reminders of that 2007 Leukaemia Bikeathon “who won” dispute, stir the pot. A past troublesome and controversial, sensitive area I’d steer well clear of

    Instead, my own personal impression of the new champ, as dear Larry Grayson, former host of the BBCs Generation Game would’ve said that …

    ” … you seems like a nice boy … ”

    So, I presume during 2009, you’ll resemble Larry’s camp friend, Everard Farquharson. Limp, limp as the vicar’s handshake

    Mix in all that camp support from your online friends, including Slack Alice. And Apricot Lil from the Nuneaton jam factory. Plus off-line, support from the Campbells’ postman, Pop-It-In-Pete. Even your family baker, self-raisin’ Fred, they all must’ve steered AC to a convincing victory

    Therefore, on your supporters’ behalf, I propose a champagne toast all round

    To our new Mind Champion, Mr Alastair Campbell, cheers

    (Nope, dear supporter, you were meant to have clapped loudly there, please. Show some respect. Raise your pint)

    AC, be a right old knees-up at the Gospel Oak “Cock n Trumpet” tavern later tonight, then

    At least – at last – something worth celebrating amid all the troubled gloom and doom elsewhere out there

    Just one killjoy proviso, folks

    For those who wish to celebrate AC’s Mind triumph, by imbibing alcohol, please do remember, the gentleman’s birthday is only eleven days ahead

    So, give yourselves enough lag-time to sober up abit, younger ladies especially

    Otherwise, next Friday, 25 May, you’ll find you still feel too legless, when you’re expected to stand up and toast the future health and happiness of your favourite Birthday Boy’s “coming of age” – aged 52, that is

    ‘Tis a reet-proud day for us Keighley exiles down South, strategist. You’ve shown what tough Taliban stuff us Geoffrey Boycott’s Yorkshire buggers are made of, chuck

    Inspirational to hoist up a young lad like you, to show callow teenage hoodies of today, somebody charitable and magnanimous they can look up to

    Grand, and worth me sending another donation to help swell the Leukaemia Research coffers. A job well done, soldier Campbell

    And blessed be, AC,
    from your humble, would-be hagiographer, Trevor Malcolm …

    … alias, National Mind Member No 2122166, of long-standing, who genuinely DOES appreciate the value of your contribution, sir. Thank you


  • Em

    It’s rare that I write an unrestrainedly glowing comment and, lo and behold, it doesn’t get published. I can’t even remember what I wrote, my contrarian mind won’t let me rephrase my amazement. LOL!

    So, I loved the website and vid…

  • Ryan Ross

    I’m agreed with wyrdtimes- a full page spread would be better, with embedded video for reference.
    I also think having your Vlogs as a bigger feature is a good idea, perhaps as a scroll bar at the bottom, so users can visually choose which video to watch, then it come up much larger in the centre above, rather than having to access the archives. Cracking Up would have benefited from that, given its high quality footage and 4 part segments.

    Only suggestions of course!
    Besides a few visual tweaks, the content is top notch! 🙂

  • Jack

    Isn’t this PPP basically saying that David Cameron is tough like a boxer?

    At times like these I’d like a Prime Minister who can punch people.

  • Brian Hughes

    A tiny bright spot in the midst of the gloom was learning from Midlands Today that the usually loquacious Julie Kirkbride was “unavailable for comment”.

  • David

    Hi Alastair

    I agree with you that Mr Cameron is having an easy ride. The expenses problems have highlighte that fact.

    I feel sure that you must have seen Peter Hitchens article drawing comparison beteen Mr Cameron and Mr Tebbit. I confess that I do not share Peter Hichens political views but did he or did he not get it right about Cameron’s small expense problem.

    Is this a case of poacher turned gamekeeper? Will David Cameron appear before his own expenses panel? So why is Labour not drawing attention to this matter.