Labour launches 'the party of the countryside' social media campaign

The Labour Party is putting social media at the heart of a new campaign to present Labour as 'the party of the countryside'.

Tony Robinson: voice of the British apple
Tony Robinson: voice of the British apple

The party has teamed up with celebrated film producer David Puttnam to create an animated video promoting its ‘Back the apple’ campaign.

The new campaign focuses on Government plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, the independent body which sets minimum wages for farm workers and fruit pickers in England and Wales. Labour claims 152,000 workers could see their pay take a nosedive as a consequence of the board’s abolition.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh is spearheading the campaign. She was expected to tell this week’s Labour Party conference today: ‘Labour has always been the party of jobs, growth and fairness in the countryside…. This is just the beginning of Labour’s fightback in rural areas. The fight to keep England’s forests for the people showed, this land is our land. And we’re not going to keep off it.  

‘Labour is the party of the countryside.  The first time I said that in Parliament, the Tories laughed. They’re not laughing now.’

The Government is planning to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board as part of the Public Bodies Bill this autumn.

The animated film features the Labour-supporting actor and TV presenter Tony Robinson as the voice of the British apple.

Pagefield partner Simon Redfern is understood to have advised Creagh’s team on the campaign.

The film can be viewed at backtheapple.com . It will be sent out virally to supporters in target constituencies and will be backed up by a text message offensive.

The new viral campaign builds on Labour’s efforts in the last general election. In 2010, Labour presented an animated version of its party manifesto through the medium of YouTube.

A recent poll by YouGov found that none of the major political parties is widely seen as representing the countryside’s interests.

Only 29 people think the Conservatives best reflect the interests of the people in the countryside, suggesting that the Tories’ traditional reputation as the party of the countryside looks on slightly shaky ground.

Yet Labour still has a mountain to win the countryside vote, with just 12 per cent seeing it as the party which best reflects the interests of the people in the countryside. Only 6 per cent of respondents opted for the Liberal Democrats. YouGov polled 2,724 adults this month.

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