Spin V Soul….
PR Week has a really rather good article about how Labour is failing to get its message across. It is my opinion that this started to happen during the election campaign; Labour’s delivery was poor as was Gordon Brown’s right until the dying embers of the campaign when Brown took the media by storm with a speech, written by a left-winger, all about Labour’s values. Alex Hilton makes the case very well for Labour switching to precisely this kind of values driven media messaging:
“The Labour rebuttals are simply not getting through,’ warned Hilton. ‘The public has heard the pre-prepared lines so many times that it is not hearing them anymore. What it is not hearing from Labour is pride.
‘Labour’s front benches, scared of ideology for so long, need to dig deep and find their conviction. Because that’s the only way they will communicate to the public what’s truly at stake.”
New Labour thought that the way to deal with a hostile media as through control and manipulation where as we should be dealing with them through the strength of our values. Also, where necessary we have to innovate and use our own outlets to pierce the blanket the media attempts to envelop the electorate in and talk directly to the people. Above all Labour’s communication strategy must reflect the values it presents to the electorate and not rely on the ‘dark arts’ as Peter Mandleson famously called them.
It is not a matter of not engaging with the media but more of engaging with them on our terms; not dismissing the importance of communications but seeing it as part of the right kind of strategy.