Editorial: Raising the level of campaigning

So, wot won it for Labour then? The Sun? Campbell and Mandelson?

So, wot won it for Labour then? The Sun? Campbell and


Neil Hamilton? Maybe even Tony Blair?

Elsewhere in this issue our resident sage Bernard Ingham disputes the

view that Labour’s campaign had much effect on the outcome. And it is

fair to say that even the most brilliant Tory campaign would have been

unlikely to prevent a Labour win after years of Tory disarray.

But the scale of the Labour victory was a direct result of its


The evidence for this is that Labour’s overall share of the vote was

slightly less than that which ushered in John Major with a majority of

just 20 or so in 1992. Yet Labour has a huge 179 seat lead because the

swing in marginal seats was far greater than the average elsewhere.

This was achieved through relentless targeting of floating voters in the

key marginals with careful use of, among other tactics, direct mail to

reinforce key national and local messages. And at a national level the

PR control and stage direction demonstrated by Labour was of a calibre

not previously seen in this country.

The Tories meanwhile struggled throughout - both locally and


The most revealing moment of the campaign was when they attempted to

attack Labour by revealing that it had a ’war book’. When the worst

accusation you can level at the opposition is that they are better

organised than you are, then you know you’re in trouble.

Tory leadership contender William Hague talks openly of the ’lessons to

be learned from Labour’. But anyone in the PR and communication business

could usefully study Labour’s example when it comes to targeting, issues

management, integration and the use of technology.

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