For decades the standard Tory election PlayBook has been to demonise whoever the LAB leader is. How will they do that with Starmer?

For decades the standard Tory election PlayBook has been to demonise whoever the LAB leader is. How will they do that with Starmer?

GE1997 CON election poster

The former DPP presents a bigger challenge

In just about every general election in recent times a key Tory approach has been to demonise the the Labour leader in order to frighten voters not to vote for the party. That big broad approach more than anything was why Johnson won a clear majority last December.

Just go back to the way Michael Foot was portrayed at GE1983, Kinnock at GE1987 and GE1992 and more recently Brown at GE2010 and EdM at GE2015.

This can be very successful as we saw last December when the polling showed that the main reason why voters had switched from GE2017 LAB voters to the Conservatives was fear of Corbyn as PM. In that case there was a lot in the LAB’s leader’s back-story that gave them lots of material to play with.

This approach was even tried in 1997 against Tony Blair as can be seen in the poster above of. Of course it did not not work against the most successful General Election winner LAB has ever had because the Tory attacks simply didn’t chime with the public perceptions of Blair

So what are they going to do against Starmer? No doubt CCHQ has been trying to find things that will undermine the former Director of Public Prosecutions. The question is will it work? Personal attacks like this have to have an element of truth in them that chimes with public perceptions for them to succeed.

Based on what we have seen during the first few weeks of Starmer’s leadership it could be difficult to follow the template again.

On the Betfair exchange “next PM” market Starmer has moved from a 23.8% chance a 37% one now in just three weeks.

Mike Smithson

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