John Underwoood, senior partner Clear Communication and former
director of communications for the Labour Party
The past ten days have not been brilliant for Labour but the Tories have
failed to capitalise on Labour’s wobbles and blips and still haven’t
landed a serious blow. The polls continued to show Labour a solid 20
Individual Tory candidates are beginning to recognise that a Eurosceptic
tone wins votes locally. But nationally the wide-ranging nature of
personal Conservative manifestos only serves to underline the bitterly
divided nature of the party.
As Labour and the Tories fight for the middle ground, it’s the Lib Dems
who look different and differentiation is everything in political
The Lib Dems are having a good campaign. They’re moving up in the polls
and since their support is increasingly concentrated in small pockets,
expect them to make gains.
Verdict: A good week for the Lib Dems but Labour still on course for a
Hugh Colver, public affairs consultant and former director of
communications for the Conservative Party
This lacklustre week began with a spark of excitement - the Tory
Eurosceptics are ’coming out’. This is awkward because it is not policy,
the polls suggest that ’no’ is more appealing than ’wait and see’. The
biggest presentational challenge yet could now emerge. How do you play a
winning card when it is not supposed to be in the pack?
The best material is still in the one-liners. Major on Labour education
policy: ’A shameless contract with hypocrisy’. Blair on the Government’s
efforts on fisheries policy: ’Mickey Mouse could have done better’.
Goldsmith on the Referendum Party: ’Formed to break the silence’.
(Silence? On Europe? Where has he been?).
Labour’s latest election broadcast took us back to animals. A tired
bulldog spoke for us all when he sloped off camera apparently shaking
the dust from his paws.
Verdict: Week four a yawn and a draw, but perhaps it’s about to liven
Olly Grender, director of Communications for Shelter and former director
of communications for the Liberal Democrats
Europe is the issue every party wishes to avoid. For the Tories it means
one thing - splits. No one should underestimate the damage caused by
being divided, the punters cannot bear it. Any row about Europe is a
double-edged sword for Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In the seats
where they are challenging the Conservatives the single currency will be
They would all be wise to avoid the debate like the plague.
The British Bulldog in their party election broadcast is the final proof
that Labour have, successfully, destroyed the Tories’ home
As for the Labour business election broadcast it looked to me like the
American Express advert - slick.
Labour have no choice but to play it negative, they will jeopardise
their lead if they don’t. They open every interview saying how important
it is to be positive and get back to the issues and then they put the
boot in. I assume it is a strategy, sadly it is necessary in order to
The Lib Dems tend to go up in the polls when a campaign first begins
because broadcasters are legally required to give them more
For the first three weeks of the campaign there was no shift, which
surprised me. We are now seeing that increase which will be particularly
important in Lib Dem target seats.
Verdict: Labour winning - the lead is holding.