There are a few golden rules in communications. One of them is that you shouldn’t use your time and effort repeating your opponents’ criticisms of you. All it does is a) give them another airing and b) show that they are serious enough for you to be worried about them.
A classic example of this was the Yes2AV campaign, who seemed to spend as much time saying “No2AV says AV will cost hundreds of millions of pounds, but…” as they did saying why they liked the proposed electoral system. Effectively, they gave their opponents free air time and lent their criticisms added legitimacy.
It’s a pretty basic rule, but Labour have just broken it. It seems they’re even more rattled by the Prime Minister’s “tax on the middle class” attack at PMQs than we previously thought.
In an extraordinary message to their entire email database, adorned with the subject line “FW: CONFIRMED: Labour want to raise your taxes”, the party’s General Secretary, Iain McNicol has just sent out a full copy of Grant Shapps’ Conservative fundraising message on the topic.
McNicol claims it is “full of lies”, but fails to give any evidence or even argument as to how – in fact, the majority of the email is Tory messaging, including a helpful reproduction of the graphic at the top of this post.
Remember, this didn’t go out to Labour members alone – it went out to their full list of every email they’ve gathered from all their campaigns and surveys (hence the fact I got it, having taken part in a ludicrous Labour survey a few months ago). That means thousands upon thousands of floating voters have just received a copy of a Conservative attack ad that goes to the heart of popular concerns about Labour’s high tax habits.
Grant Shapps couldn’t have imagined the Opposition would help him distribute the message – it’s almost unbelievable that they’ve done so.
Thank you, Iain McNicol, for a very kind donation to our re-election campaign.