Matt Stadlen is Leading Britain's Conversation
5 August 2017, 20:50
The Daily Mail reports that Labour's ‘hard-left’ Momentum group has launched a so-called ‘decapitation strategy’ aimed at taking out Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and other senior Tories at the next election.
They needn't bother. If they leave them for long enough, they'll decapitate each other.
The Tories are fighting like contestants on Love Island. The only people they hate more than Labour are themselves.
The Mail writes this up as though it is an extraordinary and sinister development. I thought that's what politicking was all about: campaigning to oust the opposition and put your own people in their place.
To that end, Momentum is reportedly putting its supporters on a permanent war footing in preparation for a possible snap election.
Another one? Surely Mrs M isn't that desperate. Can you imagine what that nice lady Brenda from Bristol would say to that?
The PM forced the electorate to undergo weeks of unnecessary debating and feuding and it got her precisely nowhere. She would have to be one trek short of a walking holiday to put us through all that again.
Momentum do not want to get caught out for lack of preparation though.
It has given notice that it will target senior Tories in marginal seats, and has embarked on a training regime to ensure it is fit for the fight ahead.
They are going to train activists in the dark arts of knocking on peoples' doors and asking them if they are going to vote Labour. They will teach the willing to make videos about the cause and how to put them up the internet.
That is the twisted evil plan that the Mail are warning their readers about.
The brain behind this is a woman with the un-left-wing sounding name of Beth Foster-Ogg.
Ms F-O said, "we want to skill up the hundreds of thousands of new Labour party members so they can be better, more effective campaigners when the next election comes".
The reason the Mail is so upset is that next time, Labour might actually win it and the prospect of a bearded man in a 1970's Open University jacket as Prime Minister is keeping them up all night in a cold sweat.
This permanent election campaigning that Momentum are proposing sounds a lot like the left are learning the lessons from the right.
About time too.
As with much of our politics these days, the idea has come from the United States of America.
Over there, the right organise themselves with military doggedness.
They get their people phone calling and sending out mailshots and knocking on doors and putting up posters.
And they get their people out to vote. No matter what the weather, or how long the queues, the right are out there ready to put their cross next to anyone's name that is Republican.
It has won them two elections in recent memory, despite the fact that they did not accrue the most votes.
Both Hilary Clinton and Al Gore won more votes than the men they fought against but they were beaten to the Whitehouse anyway.
That was the result of targeted campaigning - the appliance of science.
Voters in key marginal areas were carpet bombed with messages of love and foreboding to get them to vote Republican. They did, and the less popular candidate overall won both elections.
The same technique was applied to the Brexit vote in this country. Offices full of workers bombarded the social media feeds of target demographics to ensure that they would both vote out, and go out to vote.
They relied on the fact that pensioners are more likely to be right wing and are also much more likely to vote than the young, who are more likely to be left wing.
The techniques the Americans have honed also include the repetition of simple slogans that they pound home loudly and often.
The Conservatives attempted to copy that with their "strong and stable versus a coalition of chaos" line that was too clunky and irritating and annoying but they still won.
What they really needed was a catchy three or four word slogan, like "take our country back" or "make America great again".
Perhaps the Tories thought that would be too brash, too modern but this is how you win an election these days.
Yet the Mail is writing this up as though it is underhand of Momentum to be trying it.
It's OK when the right do it, but it is sinister if the left catch on that's how you win an election - get a simple message and repeat it often.
Be vague about promises - basically do a Trump - just say that everything is going to be great and tremendous.
It is what people want to hear.
Just stroke their hair like mummy used to do and tell them it is all going to be all right.
Or in their case, all left.