With the mainstream media focusing on Gordon Brown's wooing of the middle classes, Left Foot Forward looks at the hidden headlines from the Fabian Society conf.
With the mainstream coverage of Saturday’s Fabian Society conference dominated by Gordon Brown’s appeal to the middle classes in an unashamedly New Labour speech, the hidden headlines from the day could be found on twitter – #fab10 – and on the blogs.
“Twitter is full of people who, unlike the general public, actually find politics interesting. Peter Mandelson is one of those people who actually makes politics interesting for the rest of the population as well. So if he becomes a Tweeter, he’ll square the circle as it were.
“Mandelson’s one of the few genuine stars of British politics – some people love him – some people hate him, others merely throw custard at him – but it would take a very disaffected voter to hand on heart say that they were bored by him.”
On Labour List, Adrian Prandle writes about the new strategy to have emerged from the conference, one of “core values rather than core votes”, those of “fairness, social justice, enterprise and equal opportunity”. He spotted a potential new slogan in Mandelson’s speech:
“Change for good, and change with Labour”
Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s twitter tsar, blogged on the most efficient and effective ways to campaign, through traditional billboard campaigns or online:
“The received wisdom about billboard campaigns in the past was that what mattered wasn’t the billboard itself, but the press/TV coverage it got when it was unveiled. As Peter Kellner pointed out, the only Conservative billboard people remember from the 1997 campaign was the ‘Demon Eyes’ picture of Tony Blair.
“And yet there was only ever the one poster; it wasn’t a campaign that was rolled out on billboards across the country. You will probably be able to find people who can “remember” seeing the poster, but they won’t have; they’ll have seen the press coverage.”
Next Left have a report on Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell’s remarks on primaries, in which he described the Totnes selection as David Cameron’s “clause 4 moment”. Carswell said:
“I think the Conservative Party had its clause 4 moment at the Totnes by-election in 2009 when 16,000 people, many not party members or even Conservative supporters, voted in an open primary to decide who was to be the Conservative candidate.”
“There are some very significant new ideas, although some of these ideas have taken a long time to come to fruition. If you want to be a party of the status quo, carry on doing that, you belittle your tradition of radicalism if you ignore it. This is a (Conservative) programme that is actually quite radical.”
And Ahsan Khan has blogged on the need for “social mobility not class war”, praising the Prime Minister for his vision of a “wider society”, writing:
“I was particularly impressed with his emphasis on improving social mobility; it is an ambitious endeavor which should allow every person, regardless of their background, to achieve their full potential by removing the obstacles that stop it from happening. Politics still does have its great causes, and this I believe is one of them.“
Elsewhere, Left Foot Forward’s own Will Straw took part in a fringe meeting on campaigning across party boundaries where he argued that a combination of electoral reform, parliamentary reform, and party reform were needed to move beyond tribal partisanship.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
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