Toxic brands?


WHEN Labour lost its council seats in Gospel Oak in 2006, the leader of the Conservatives suggested that New Labour had in the wake of the Iraq War become, shall we say, a toxic brand in the area. Piers Wauchope, who later left the party and became a UKIP councillor in Kent, said Labour’s opponents had benefited from the local group’s association with Alastair Campbell and campaign photo shoots with Tony Blair.

In his book, a history of Camden politics, he claimed a picture of Campbell at the launch of the local manifesto was a “gift” to the other parties. Labour went onto lose control of the Town Hall for the first time in nearly 40 years, crucially defeated in wards which are historically strongholds for the party, including Gospel Oak.

“Three weeks before the poll, Tony Blair visited the recently renovated Cromer Street Estate,” wrote Mr Wauchope. “A delighted Chada seized the opportunity and posed for photographs alongside the Prime Minister. This followed on from the Labour election launch where Chada had allowed himself to be photographed with communications strategist Alastair Campbell for the New Journal. The photographs were a gift to the opposition.”

Labour plainly rejected this assessment and see the book as a redrafting of history by a party more used to losing council elections in Camden than winning. This was in clear evidence yesterday when the party, now firmly back in control in Gospel Oak, based their by-election polling day from Campbell’s kitchen. He tweeted a picture of the cookies and laptop, and rolls of red and yellow stickers. Nobody seemed worried that mention of his name would bring back the bad feelings of 2006. Moreover, they all seemed delighted to be associated with Campbell. Their candidate Maeve McCormack went onto win at a stroll.

Then, later in the evening, while the rest of the campaign team toasted Maeve’s win with a shandy or two in O’Neills, Campbell was back on the This Week sofa. There he pulled from his suit jacket pocket, one of Conservative candidate Leila Roy’s election leaflets and went on to tell Michael Portillo and Andrew Neil that it simply failed to mention David Cameron and the Conservatives. The blue rosette had become, he suggested, a… “toxic brand”.

With Portillo’s eyes wincing, Campbell explained: “Where I live, in Gospel Oak, there has been a by-election today. The Conservative candidate, this is her main leaflet today. She’s lost I’m glad to say and Labour has won very comfortably. The word ‘Conservative’ does not appear. She knows that the Conservative brand is so toxic because of what you’re doing to people on benefits that they are trying to go around and saying this is an individual who has nothing to do with the Conservatives, nothing to do with David Cameron because they know the brand is toxic. It’s because they continue to peddle the line that anybody who is on benefits is somehow skiving, shirking.”

9 Comments on Toxic brands?

  1. The other one // March 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm //

    Fascinating theory by the lord of dark arts and dodgy dossiers. But Campbell is lying by omission. Every other leaflet in the election that the Tories put out had the Conservative logo clearly evident. Funny how the spinmeister doesn’t mention that. But let’s not let the truth get in the way of a line.

  2. Have a feeling the issue of toxic associations will feature in Labour’s selection process for Hampstead & Kilburn

  3. David Douglas, Agent to Leila Roy // March 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm //

    In this election Leila Roy issued 6 sets of leaflets and 2 setas of direct mail letters. All bore the words Conservative on them and discussed issues in Gospel Oak. All bar the one that Tony Blairs mouth-piece was waiving had the tree symbol on. That one has a clipping from the CNJ clearly says Leila is the Conservative candidate. It was not the main leaflet and was issued 3 weeks ago. I do not know why people believe what Mr Campbell says. He is a master at taking part of the truth and painting his own picture. Dodgy Dossiers and illegal wars should have meant that people (including the BBC) limit his platform and add a disclaimer along the lines ‘this is the truth according to A Campbell, mouth piece of Tony Bliar.’ It is a shame that the Labour candidate did not refer to any issues in Gospel Oak and hose to use his house as her campaign centre. By your company shall you be judged.

    • Jog on, Douglas. I can understand how, for appearances, you now want to row back from decisions you made but we saw loads of info which downplayed the Conservative brand or omitted it entirely. On one leaflet ‘Conservative Party’ doesn’t even appear next to your name as agent!

      You made a decision to run away from David Cameron and your own brand and this was noticed by the electorate.

      Our Labour candidate campaigned on saving Camden police numbers from your Mayor’s cuts and the Fire Station closure at Belsize. If you don’t think these are local then this might explain why your campaign didn’t have much traction.

    • D Douglas is surely not an agent for budding Cons. / Roy was beaten by Labour .. on a trot.

      has she approached to Fib Dims yet ?

  4. David Douglas, Agent to Leila Roy // March 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm //

    Usual abuse from Cllr Blackwell.,.His endless bullying style was one of the really sad stories of this election. Here’s confession time. The tree was left off by accident. Doing layout for HSP Conservatives in my spare time at night the tree got left on the side page where I had placed it ready to be restored. Completely forgot. When your agent pointed this out I was rather suprised and had too look myself. There Theo you have your reason – cock up not conspiracy. But that would be too honest for the twisted minds of you and Bliars mate.

  5. Luca Salice // March 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm //

    Given that Camden Tories are so embarassed by their association with Cameron and Osborne, they should consider declaring independence and pledging allegiance to Mrs May. Leila Roy is a good campaigner on local issues but it was foolish of her to join those hopeless young lads in Downing Street.

  6. Gio Spinella // March 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm //

    Yawn. Theo, if we were so embarrassed by our brand how do you explain that 5 out of 6 leaflets had the logo, as well as 2 pieces of direct mail?

    I realise that one of Labour’s big boys has decreed that an omission in one leaflet- that clearly described Leila as a Conservative and that had on its back an article by Simon Marcus, our PPC- was a deliberate ploy, and that you as a good little cog in the Labour machine obey his diktats. Frankly, the sheer amount of conspiracies and fantasies you are building and energy devoted to them is amusing.

    By all means, carry on spending time and effort on this, it saves you from having to do other things, like, I don’t know, running Camden as Cabinet Member for Finance..?

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