THIS one is not quite a leafletwatch contender, but times have changed and this blog’s occasional leafletwatch feature may soon have to become emailwatch as print more regularly turns to pixel in election campaigning. What we have tonight are claims of a cunning bit of marketing from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign, with a few Owen Smith-supporting members irritated by its latest email.
Both candidates have been allowed to send out an email from a party-sponsored address. Once members open the Corbyn one, they see the red tabs used in Labour Party emails, but instead of giving the familiar multiple choices about how much they will donate to the party generally, the options ask who they will be supporting in this summer’s leadership battle: Corbyn, Smith or Don’t Know.
Click on Corbyn and members get invited to volunteer for his campaign and the one-question survey is done. Click on Smith, however, and members are asked why they are supporting the challenger, and then face a test of loyalty with the question: ‘Once the winner of the leadership contest is announced, will you support whoever is elected?’
A loaded question, say some Smith supporters, aimed at marking out those who will never fall in line. It’s simply an attempt to bring together greater unity in the aftermath of another contest, say some of Corbyn’s, and only paranoia drives other interpretations.
Smith’s email from the same address meanwhile has a red tab leading directly to his campaign site, after some blurb about coming alive in the miner’s strike, which was immediately digested by suspicious Corbyn supporters as a bit of an OTT play to the left of the party.