Hit or Miss - Labour caught out as two ministers veer off message

Double whammy: What happened to Labour's message discipline this week?

First, business minister Baroness Vadera claimed in an interview with ITV that she could see 'the green shoots of recovery' from the recession. Gordon Brown was forced to declare the Government was never 'complacent' about the economy. Days later, housing minister Margaret Beckett suggested there were signs of a property 'upturn'.

HOW I SEE IT - Edward Staite, Senior media adviser, Fleishman-Hillard

This double injection of incompetence from Shriti Vadera and Margaret Beckett was reminiscent of Del Boy and Rodney arriving at a wake dressed as Batman and Robin - ill-timed and inappropriate.

The news agenda is stuck firmly on job losses, business failures and tales of woe, and Beckett and Vadera made the mistake of failing to adapt to or acknowledge the news cycle. An intervention in a story should grab attention but also be believable. In an ongoing media narrative, the intervention must match people's perceptions or you must provide evidence for your claims. Beckett and Vadera failed on both counts.

One of these statements could have been dismissed as a gaffe, but two will be seized upon as evidence Labour is out of touch.


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