So far the election addresses can be split into two camps. Those who list some policies, but leave enough off the leaflet hoping that some sort of interest will be piqued (The Green’s & the SNP) and those that trade on brand recognition, past experience, just something to get the message across (The Tories & Richard Vassie). At the start of last week came another address, and one that falls into the latter camp. Except that right now just brand recognition won’t get New Labour out of the hole they appear to be in.
The leaflet itself is about a quarter of the size of the SNP’s. Yet crammed into its 10cm by 5 cm surface is quite possibly the most patronising and clichéd leaflet you will ever see. On the front is supposed to be a normal family. If this family exists, sorry, but the pictures look directly out of central casting. Oh and this family would not look out of place on a Conservative leaflet. All of which takes away from the veracity of the statement “We trust Labour (sic) to focus on the economy and schools and the things that really matter”. Overall, it lacks a certain… truth.
The back page features the extended quote – “This is a difficult time for families with all the cuts and with the price of everything going up so much. At times like this, we trust Labour…” It kind of makes you wonder where these people have been for the past four years. Remember it was Labour who doubled income tax for the low paid, it was Labour who wanted to scrap the Council Tax freeze, and it was Labour who wants to keep the unfair Council Tax. Also remember that it was New Labour that introduced the fuel escalator, worth remembering when Gray promises to “Campaign for cuts in VAT on petrol”. Interestingly Labour do acknowledge that they oppose the SNP’s LIT proposals, but do not say if they object to say the Lib Dem’s own LIT proposals or the Greens Land Valuation Tax.
Gray (& Labour’s) primary target in this leaflet is still the evil dastardly Tories – “Now the Tories are back…” which is a strange statement considering that the Tories will struggle to reach 20 seats (their only influence is as a possible supply & confidence partner to the SNP). They have started to target the SNP, but on independence (a policy the SNP appear to be somewhat lukewarm about) rather than any policy failings that the SNP have.
This leaflet is an awfully patronising piece of literature, akin to having an annoying yes man leave you notes. Not the best tactic in such turbulent times. Somehow though, this is befitting of a party that has ran an unfocused (at best) & shrill campaign which has had nothing to say. You know what they say about empty vessels…