THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Is there a place for low-key election campaigning?

The main political parties are focussing on the Scottish and Welsh, rather than local, elections

The main political parties are focussing on the Scottish and Welsh,

rather than local, elections

Jeremy Browne

Liberal Democrat Party

’There is up to a point. All the parties are being upbeat with their

political messages but downbeat on their party expectations with these

local elections. It is about managing expectations. It is not in the

parties’ best interests to hype up the degree to which they will

succeed, you are on a hiding to nothing because you can’t exceed high

expectations. But if you are more bashful about expectations then the

media are more likely to give you a good write-up if you exceed low


Adrian McMenamin

Labour Party

’You do not run election campaigns to get low-key coverage. When we hold

press events we want the greatest impact possible. We recognise some

elections are more important than others, and these local elections are

not going to receive huge coverage with the focus on the Scottish and

Welsh elections, but you do not want to organise a media event and then

get no coverage.

Dan Hodges

Media Strategy

’The Labour party won the last election with a low-key campaign and

safety-first policy of holding on to the lead it had built before the

election. Low-key campaigning benefits the strongest political party at

the time, but there is a high risk factor. If a party with a low-key

strategy receives a significant hit from the opposition, it is not

adequately geared up to respond.’

Ceri Evans

Conservative Party

’It is not about whether something is low-key or high-profile, but about

a balance between getting information out to the press and putting into

action kitchen table theories. It is no good talking about local action

and local issues from London. William Hague was out on the ground (last

week) doing it, rather than talking about it. Research shows that the

regional press is important in shaping people’s voting.’

Jake Arnold-Foster

Local Government Chronicle

’There may well be room for more low-key campaigning, as the sight of

politicians announcing campaigns in the media couldn’t be more boring to

most people. People still feel disengaged from politics, so you need to

be careful that your campaign is not too low-key or they won’t know you

are around to vote for you.’

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