Friday, May 11, 2007

Brown for Britain?

While the contenders for deputy tout themselves to their elected colleagues, Brown appears to be conducting a presidential campaign for the hearts and minds of the nation. Brown for Britain is not the slogan one would expect for a leadership campaign; equally touring marginal seats is synonymous with the technocratic, profit-oriented campaigning tactics of general elections; so is the strong focus on communicating via the mass media. So whose support is Brown trying to win. It would seem that it is the ordinary voters; possibly because he expects no serious competition in the contest to become Labour leader and hence Prime Minister.

Like Brown, Blair was touted to be leader by the media almost immediately after the untimely death of John Smith, and polls seemed to echo the media affection for Blair, though public opinion may simply have been driven by the media; however Blair used the media to full effect to drive home firstly victory within the party then in the country. This seems a stark contrast to the mixed approach of party first then nation via mass media that recent Conservative leadership contests have taken.

Brown clearly sees this contest as one where he can command centre stage and which could be used as a springboard for an general election victory, but can he succeed in the same way that Blair did? Is the Brown brand the right offering for the UK electorate? Can he sell himself during this campaign to convince the public that Brown is right for Britain? Clearly this is the intention as strategists within the Labour party continue to deliver a highly marketised, mass media focused campaign whether it is the right tactic or not. It may be deemed professional, but the real test is success short term in Sunday's polls and long term looking towards 2010 as the last possible date for the ultimate test of Brown as leader.

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