I've received the following text that is allegedly a draft brief for the new advertising agency for the Labour Party (see this story for more detail).
7th July 2013: INTERNAL ONLY
Advertising Agency Brief
The Labour Party is seeking a new advertising agency to help them communicate with voters in the run up to the next General Election. This will be a highly sensitive brief and will require an exceptional agency. We’ve got hardworking, committed Labour activists campaigning around the country who need to be able to effectively and succinctly connect with voters who share our values.
One of the key barriers to Labour’s success is the perception that Gordon Brown’s previous government is somehow to blame for the vast economic problems we face. It will be crucial that the agency can convince voters that this is a new Labour Party, while making clear that it is not New Labour.
We have recently experienced difficulties in relation to our links to the unions. The Labour Party is proud of its union links in most Scottish and northern constituencies with healthy Labour majorities and a high proportion of working class voters. However, the Labour Party is also a bit ashamed of its union links in some marginal constituencies in the South (and Falkirk West – but we will try very hard not to speak of this because of the next paragraph).
The agency has to make the party attractive to a wider variety of funding streams. We need to maintain our union funding links, which will require a careful assessment of just how far we can go in ignoring and marginalising union concerns before they stop funding us. We want to attract more corporate donations that we are allowed to keep, like we did in the good old days of the Blair government, although not the Bernie Ecclestone one, so that we are less reliant on union money and can push a bit harder on the marginalisation. However, we really, really want to avoid picking up money from private healthcare providers, as it has been really embarrassing that certain Labour MPs have received payments from them, as we are supposed to be saving the NHS.
We also want you as an agency to consider branding. We definitely still need red, but we also have to include Blue and Yellow Labour. Our hastily developing electoral strategy must also now include Purple Labour, not because of the embarrassment we experienced over that “tax efficient” donation, but because of our formal coalition on Norfolk County Council with UKIP. We need to have a broad church but we have to avoid flying a red flag on it.
There are some key “themes” that we want to put across.
- On immigration, we need the party to come across as tough but fair. For asylum seekers and low wage economic migrants, it will be tough, but for well connected steel magnates from the Indian subcontinent, we’ll be fair.
- The Bedroom Tax will form a key plank of the next General Election campaign. We want to use that plank to hit the Tories and Liberals and show how regressive and damaging the introduction of this has been. However, if elected, we don’t want to walk the plank on this, but instead we need to be able to drop it (although not too noisily).
- Ed Miliband’s is determined to stay within the spending envelope if the country returns a Labour government in 2015. As you will know, we’ve agreed that we will match Tory and Liberal spending plans in the first year of the next parliament. If the country elects us and works out that it is no different to having a Tory government, Ed would like to stay in the envelope for protection, so we need it to be one of the large padded varieties that you can buy from the state owned Post Office.
Which brings us to privatisation. Now we know that it hasn’t exactly been a success, what with soaring energy, transport and water bills. We acknowledge that while in the hands of the government, the East Coast mainline has actually performed better than the privatised franchises. We also have to admit that the Private Finance Initiatives that we really backed have turned out to be a hugely expensive burden for essential services. We are really sorry about that, and it is important to get that across when our own supporters get very angry. However, we will stay true to our principles and therefore you are authorised to contract out this part of the brief to another agency who might even employ interns on no pay and we will pick up the inevitable cost overruns, liabilities and failures when they fail to deliver.
In summary, we need to communicate to the public that Labour is moving forward and making progress, although not Progress in that sense. Although we’ve not entirely lost our Compass, we can’t rely on it for a sense of direction any more, as it seems to be a bit unreliable now and doesn’t necessarily point the way we want it to.
For further information please contact Tom Watson MP (edit need here urgently!)