Ken’s election broadcast was a successful campaign initiative

13th April, 2012 6:59 pm

Day three of coverage for Labour’s London election campaign broadcast and the interest it provoked has not abated. That itself makes it an effective campaign initiative. Most election broadcasts disappear without trace. Ken’s will be talked about long after the election is over.

More than that, it tells us a number of things about the campaign and the candidates.

The reaction of Labour’s opponents to this has been instructive. The haters seem to fear that Ken’s empathy for what is happening out there and this honest display of his real feelings may blunt the vicious attacks they have deployed against him. So their response is yet more attack.

Contrary to some reports, the people in the video are not actors. Most were ‘street cast’ where our agency asked people on the street who they are supporting and recruited them for the video; others were already known Labour supporters. All are genuine Labour supporters.

Ken’s broadcast is about the tough times we’re living in and the real possibility of an alternative. It speaks straight to the experience of people in a city where the cost of living is rising and where many are worried about their living standards and their children’s future. Labour’s campaign has been bowled over by the fantastic response to the broadcast. It may yet contribute to defining the terms of the election.

Boris Johnson’s Tory ad is the classic incumbent’s video, long on record, pushing the sometimes subliminal, sometimes explicit ‘don’t put this at risk’ messaging. It contains a meagre forward offer that fails to inspire.

Fundamentally, Ken’s broadcast is all about Londoners. Boris Johnson’s is, well, about Boris Johnson. That encapsulates everything that sums up the choice.

We’ve seen plenty of talk about the tears. This is a broadcast that conveys Labour’s values with a personal touch. Of course it is a film intended to reach directly to people and their experiences. Some will by definition be moved by it. I’ve watched numerous people view it since the rough cut of the film was delivered in our campaign HQ and many of them have had an emotional reaction – Ken is not the only one to well up. I’ve found that many Labour supporters particularly react to the lines about the NHS and the cut to the EMA but reactions are different among different people.

Ken’s emotional response to this simple and effective video sums up one of the most important reasons why so many of Labour’s campaign team are so proud to work for him. He cares about what is happening to people in London. He is moved by it and he wants to make a difference. He is one of the most talented and effective political administrators Labour has produced – but he also functions at an emotional level too. Sometimes he is accused of lacking empathy; he just shows it in his own personal way.

But ask yourself if you can imagine this emotional response from Boris Johnson: an emotional response about the lives of people struggling to get by, and his duty to stand up for them and do something about it.

Whatever your view of Ken, he is passionate about the hard times London residents are facing. He is driven by doing something about it. He is in it for London. That’s what this election broadcast has thrown into sharp relief.

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  • AlanGiles

    Your biggest problem Simon, seems to be not the Tories but sections of the Labour party itself – most obviously the old and not-so-old Blairites and you will no doubt be aware some of the stuff Labour Uncut has been publishing (it has been discussed on LL again today).

    I  really think (if I may borrow a term from Mrs Thatcher) the biggest danger comes from “the enemy within”.

    How you deal with that – I just don’t know

    • treborc1

      Better the  enemy without, then the ones within.

      Boris gets another term and I suspect the new labour lot would think they have won since Boris is more like them then Ken.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Every time Ken appears in the media, something backfires in a big way.  His anti-Semitism, his attempts to cuddle up to the Islamic vote and falsely declaring empathy while elsewhere at the same time he decries all religions, his taxes, his manifesto that falls apart in financial terms, and now he cannot even put put a broadcast without the real story being about whether it is paid actors or supporters being paid expenses.

    The problem is, Ken IS now the story.  His campaign is unwinnable, and the reason is that he is deeply flawed, he has attacked Labour too many times over 20 years to have much loyalty, his manifesto is a joke in terms of mathematics, and he has made too many enemies everywhere over so many years.  There is a rare alliance of people, commentators, media and websites of all parts of the political spectrum who are actively looking to highlight the next inconsistency or outright lie.

    • “The problem is, Ken IS now the story.”

      Certainly Ken has put himself into the frame with his  promise to cut fares by 7% in the autumn of this year, freeze them in  2013 and have no increases above inflation in future years. This will save Londoners £1000 over four years.

      And Ken’s tenants charter will promote minimum standards in what tenants from all sectors should be able to expect of their landlords.

      And the reintroduction of the Educational Maintenance allowance for less well-off sixth-form kids – surely you wouldn’t argue against this?

      These are just three of the policies that will improve the life of Londoners if Ken becomes Mayor.

      What’s your chap Johnson going to do?

      • GuyM

        All good isn’t it, apart from the fact his figures once again don’t add up with no way to explain how he’d pay for it all.

        Thus leaving Londoners like myself with no other conclusion to draw other than our taxes would go up sharply under Livingstone, just as they did under him before.

        Bribing 6 th formers with pocket money their parents should be paying and forcing London non public transport users to subsidise public transport users (not trains by the way) including tourists and non Londoners via higher taxes won’t be very popular if Ken gets in.

        But then Dave, as you believe we should all be paying much more tax to enjoy a socialst high tax high spend nightmare you’d obviously back Ken.

        • You still can’t find anything positive to say in favour of Johnson?!

          Ok, so you’re a bit grumpy following last night’s Diamond White session.

          Once you’re recovered and out on the doorstep canvasing for Johnson (don’t forget to tidy yourself up first) you’ll find people will respond more readily to a positive message. I’m surprised that dedicated political activist like yourself hasn’t yet worked that one out.

          • GuyM

            Firstly you could put a monkey up against Livingstone and I vote for the monkey.

            Secondly I don’t do canvassing and haven’t for more than a decade. I can’t think of many worse ways to waste my life. I am so far from a “dedicated political activist” that I laughed so much it hurt when I read the phrase.

            Lastly, no diamond white, but a single bottle of Magners (Pear if you must know) in front of a film with the wife and kids.

          • “I am so far from a “dedicated political activist” that I laughed so much it hurt when I read the phrase.”

            Well, haven’t you noticed that you spend a large part of your life posting on this political blog.

            You’re here most working days, posting numerous long comments. And you’re here at weekends.

            You post early in the morning – Labourlist must be your first thought when you wake up.

            You post late at night – Labourlist must be your last consideration before sleeping.

            And sometimes you post in the middle of the night – your enthusiasm for Labourlist must prevent you from sleeping.

            If that doesn’t make you a dedicated political activist then I don’t know what else you can do to become one.

          • AlanGiles

            “You post early in the morning – Labourlist must be your first thought when you wake up.”

            Certainly it was this morning. Amongst his bile he let me know Mrs M (if she exists) was having a “lie-in” and he didn’t want to disturb her. Then he made a few “funny” remarks about me being retired.

            In reality perhaps he couldn’t afford the rent boy for the whole night 🙂

          • GuyM

            Ahh a homophobic insult now?

            Truly no lows you won’t drop to is there Alan. You and Livingstone deserve each more than I imagined.

            So tell me do you think the Tories are “riddled with homosexuals”?

            Maybe you have some insight into “rich jews” voting habits?

            Got some work in retirement from an Iranian tv channel?

            Love the comment really, because like your insults about some of your own party members, it shows you clearly for what you are.

            The leftwing holier than thou troll trying to insult others via homosexual based insults…. thanks that made my day

          • AlanGiles

            Guy you give so much detail about your private life that you begin to wonder if it might be more prudent to just reverse everything you say. Somebody as successful, “clever”, well-connected as you say you are – and yet you have virtuallyu nothing better to do than keep making posts saying I hate “lefties” I hate Islam” on a site on which many of it’s contributors think you are a bit of a joke.

            You must have some mental health problem to constantly be on a site like this drawing attention to yourself, and repeating the same few things you hate.

          • GuyM

            Nice attempt to pretend the homophobia was anything other than you slipping into what you really are like.

            I’m surprised you haven’t tried it on any Blairite yet.

            Once again hugely amusing to see you wriggle about trying to attack someone else on manner of posts when you are one of the worst culprits yourself.

            Hypocrisy? Another similarity between you and Ken. I would suggest you were bedfellows (political of course) but given your homophobia you’d probably laugh.

          • GuyM

            A large part of my life? Don’t delude yourself, I type very very quickly, hence the numerous typos that little my posts.

            Plus given that you or Alan or someother lefty invariably reply to everything i write plus post yourselves you must have much more time than I.

            This morning I was up at 5am, read the Times, checked the weather, got breakfast and posted a couple of LL replies and moved on.

            It’s a funny state of affairs when all you have is a come back is “ooh look at the time you posted on a weekend”. Is that all you really have?

            As for the middle of the night, I’m a night owl, have been since student days and happy with it. My only concern is that I’m changing jobs and wont be working from home much if at all for a while. Therefore I’ll have to keep to normal office hours… a horrible thought.

            Posting on a political blog makes no one an activist. It is a something very few read, even fewer care about and has absolutely no impact upon the political process. In fact if did have an impact I’d liekly stop as my cynacism about politics and politicians runs very deep.

  • Thank you, I was feeling a bit gloomy & your article made me laugh out loud, I dont know what your work is but you have a bright future in PR or advertising. The idea of people in other parties being jealous of  labours autheticity & raw emotion was brilliant.
    The only real emotion I ever see on labour sites is hate.

    • Holly

      You wanna get over to Conshome (Friday’s will one of these women be next leader) puts comments by Labour bods in the shade.

    • John Ruddy

      You’re right – I only DO see hate. Usually from Tory Trolls.

      • Holly

        I’m a ‘Tory troll’ and have never been ‘hateful’. I’ve even been ‘liked.
        I’m an even BIGGER Troll on Conshome, and ‘HATED’  with a passion.
        It is now a UKIP site.
        I’ll probably be banned soon by Tim(Hi ya Tim, fancy meeting you here)….Ask if I give a ****.
        Sorry to disappoint, but I will STILL be a Tory troll until I die.

  • kle4

    I can imagine that kind of emotional response from Boris Johnson actually, so I suppose that means if I had a vote in this election I should vote for him? I can imagine it from Ken as well as it happens. The timing was just a bit convenient .

    Ken and Boris are both big personalities with slightly too large egos and some unconventional behaviours; I don’t think in general people think one is capable of emotionally responding to the little guy than the other.

    Boris is a mostly likable personality, as in fact is Ken, and is regarded as better in touch with ordinary people than most Tories despite his out of touch background – I don’t think the key to beating him is to suggest he is incapable of doing so, as a lot of people are positively inclined to him and will give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Attack his policies, hammering home their (apparent) uselessness, that seems a more viable strategy.

    • Charles

       The “emotional response” I can most imagine from Boris is him getting furiously angry with someone continually and knowingly lying about him.

      You can imagine him wanting to get in his attacker’s face and shout “you f******g liar” or something similar perhaps

      • GuyM

        Which at least has the virtue of honesty unlike scripting and paying a load of Labour party members to look “random” whilst Ken blubs for the camera.

  • GuyM

    If you honestly think an election broadcast that implodes inside 24 hours, leaving the campaign looking deeply devious at best (with a candidate who is already accused of being devious at best) is a success then I truly didn’t realise how bad it was going for Livingstone.

    When a bit of marketing/advertising has its message so badly obscured that the Ad Agency CEO becomes the news rather than the candidate then it’s not a success, unless you are on Boris’ campaign.

    You wonder if Ken’s campaign team are deliberately trying to lose if it wasn’t for the fact that if they tried to shoot themselves in the foot they’d likely miss.

    • “an election broadcast that implodes ”
      Come on Guy, have you seen actually seen the broadcast? Even a deeply prejudiced and resolutely bitter contrarian as yourself must admit that Ken’s election broadcast is at least as good as the best.

      Simon is correct: “Ken’s broadcast is all about Londoners. Boris Johnson’s is, well, about Boris Johnson.”

      Judge it for yourself: 

      • GuyM

        No I haven’t seen it and I’m not likely to see it or any other that Ken, Boris or any of them do.

        I’ll be voting for Boris no matter what any broadcast by any of them says as I regard Livingstone to be yet another left wing nut who likes islamic fundamentatlists, marxist dictators and telling people not to do things he himself does on the quiet. Plus I’d vote for anyone who could stop London becoming a “beacon for Islam”.

        But regarding this point all that is irrelevant. The fact that only one of any of the candidates broadcasts has needed the Ad Agency to come out defending it due to the rather horrible false scene of paid, scripted “actors” and crocodile tears from the candidate shows the message it was pushing is lost and the news has become the way it was put together.

        • AlanGiles

          So Guy, you are holding forth at enormous length about a broadcast you haven’t seen – you are a bit like some of those TV critics who “review” programmes without actually watching them – you have been told what it was about and you write a long blustering review based on what you have heard.

          And let’s examine the source of most of the “information” about this broadcast  – “Labour Uncut” which consists of a group of Ultra-Blair supporters, who seem to be more biased against Labour than the Conservative party. Any organisation which includes Dan Hodges amongst it’s number has to be regarded with suspicion, given his many attacks on post-Blair Labour. To be absolutely frank about it, he is a little sh!t, who, like you has too much time on his hands to make mischief. Perhaps his PR business is not doing too wel, and it has made him even more petty and rancorous.

          Of course, you not having seen the broadcast hasn’t stopped you posting FOUR messages on this ONE thread, with your usual anti-Islamic rants and your insults about left wing “nuts”

          You really should get out more Guy, or get your social worker to find you some occupational therapy to help you get through the lonely hours, when your medication has worn off, and you are no longer high enough to post about your wonderful career and your home on the North Downs.

          • GuyM

            If you will reread, I’ve never claimed to have watched it, nor see any need to watch it when the question is over how it was put together not the message.

            The news stories are covering it saying the people involved were scripted and paid, this has led to the CEO of the agency to have to make public statements and it all has brought significant comment re. Livingstone’s “tears”.

            So the point that whatever message it had has been lost in media rebuttals and the like seems pretty accurate. But if you really want to tell us that a broadcast that makes Livingstone look even more deceitful to the extent the Ad Agency CEO has to wade in is a positive campaign moment, go ahead, it will be fun to watch.

            Livingstone’s friends include fundamentalist islamic nuts and marxists dictatorial nuts…. that makes him a left wing nut, much as it does you.

            No thanks to London being a “beacon for islam”, not now, not ever… the sooner we deport every nasty little islamic preacher who breeaks the law the better. England is a judeo-christian country by heritage and the fight-back to keep it that way has started with Cameron’s comments. Livingstone’s fundamentalists Islamic friends can clear off back to the mysoginistic hell holes they come from.

            When a candidate makes friends with people who would remove many of my wife’s and daughters’ freedoms if they could that makes him scum and all those who support him scum.

            But then feminist rights are always secondary to Islamic rights for you left wing numpties aren’t they?

            I’m up this morning as I couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to disturb my wife on a Saturday morning sleep in, what’s your excuse Alan? Retirement not exciting enough for you? Perhaps I could offer you a job… but somewhow I don’t think you have anything to offer, best you stay in retirement as your time has long passed.

          • GuyM

            And with any luck dear old Ken will be joining you in retirement sometime soon, a permanent political retirement with London finally laying him to electoral rest. Perhaps you can advise him on what its like to have passed your sell by date?

          • treborc1

             Then if the right do not like it, then it must be working.

          • AlanGiles

            Guy, when I see your more bibulous ravings on this site, I am reminded of a line from the film The Maltese Falcon. It might have been wfritten with you in mind:

            “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter”

            Hope you have sobered up by now – but I doubt it.

          • GuyM

            The funny thing about you Alan is you fire off the most blunt and pointed insults at your own pet hates but then drift into some sort of shocked moralising when you get it back at you.

            I think the comments you’ve made about Blairites leave you very fair game and clearly you can’t take it.

            The silly barb about sobering up just proves the point.

            I guess you are just some failed in life pensioner with an inane desire for a hard left government that will never come to be. As I’ve said before I pity you.

            Livingstone like you is a nasty piece of work, an apologist for fundamentalist islam, a sop for Iran, seemingly a badly disguised anti-semitic and a hypocrital champagne socialist (aren’t they all).

            I’d imagine he must be a personal hero of yours, useless in every respect apart from taxing and spending more and more.

            He may yet win in London, but if he doesn’t I’ll be happy to think the city he has abused so much over the years, one where he has allowed some nasty islamics near free rein at times, will have been the place that firmly kicked his arse into retirement.

            Retirement….. retired…. removed… sidelined….. history…… a place under those definition where you and “Ken” will richly deserve each other.

          • AlanGiles

            Still mithering on, aren’t you Guy. Repeating the same old things (so I am retired – get over it).

            You imagine wrong, if you think Livingstone is a hero of mine. If you read what I have written you will see he is far from that, but I suspect you are too drunk most of the time to read what anyone actually writes.

            I really think you need to get out a bit more Guy – you could walk hand in hand with Mrs M over the North Downs – assuming of course you live there and “Mrs M” exists, or go round and kiss your  “CEOs” backside.

          • GuyM

            Another drunk insult Alan?

            Given up on the homophobia then? I guess making up stories about alcohol abuse is safer than sexual orientation insults lol.

            Back to picking up your pension and bus pass… that’s your influence in life isn’t it.

          • AlanGiles

            Guy, I don’t give a toss about what you think about me or anybody else.

            As far as I am concerned you can be a raving queen with a blue rinse and talking about the wife and kids just helps you to feel better about yourself – your boasting suggests you are a lonely and unfilled man with an inferioritry complex – hence your absurd rantings on this site

          • GuyM

            One day I might just tell you where I work and at what level, you’d be surprised.

            In the meantime, you are the worst type of troll.

            You insult all your worth then take offence at others insulting you, whilst using the standard web troll default of casting doubt that the target is anything other than some failure in life.

            You’re a bitter old man who has passed his life by and now is left with nothing but memories and insulting members of his own political party.

            I shall be in my office next week, getting ready for moving to my next career step up. What will you be doing Alan? Pension? Bus pass?

            Getting your prostate checked out? Given your age it would be wise, although given you are so anally retentive I don’t envy the GP.

            You, like dear old Ken very soon as old news, nothing more.

            Best dream up some more homophobia old man, you don’t have much left now do you?

            And yes, I find this whole thing bloody funny.

          • Holly

            It makes no difference whether someone has watched it or not.
            The fact that it was a bod, running for a position of high office, crying, in front of  Labour supporters with the intention to fool people into thinking they were ‘everyday’ Londoner’s.

            The only ‘plus’ I can see from this is no one can say Ken cried like a ‘big girl’, because as the song says, ‘Big girls don’t cry’.

          • AlanGiles

            It’s a bit stupid of Guy, or anyone else to constantly post messages about a broadcast they haven’t seen, for a party they don’t support. One – OK but to continuously do it – morning noon and night suggests Guy is a bit unhinged TBH

          • GuyM

            Mental health insults now?

            Hilarious given the nature of my next job,

            So we’ve gone through professional, sexual orientation, alcohol abuse, mental health….one wonders what area you’ll drift into next insult wise?

            You seem unable to understand that the criticism of the broadcast was not on what it said but on how it was put together. I’d get no information on how it was put together from watching it, that comes from the media discussion and Ad Agency CEO’s protestations.

            Or are you seriously suggesting that by my watching it for 5 minutes I would change my mind about the stupidity of the scripting, payments and general deviousness of the whole thing?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Guy, I am curious.  You are moving from one job to another, and a week or so ago you appeared interested in some statistics I commented upon about death rates and the poor quality of data reporting in the NHS.  Is your next role with the NHS or as a contractor for the NHS?  I seem to recall you have an IT background, and certainly there is a lot of improvement that could be done with NHS IT.  The last implementation in the last 5 years seems to be a disaster.  Are you part of a new team to put that right?

          • GuyM

            Sadly I couldn’t possibly comment on LL.

            From a hypothetical position though I will say that the NHS’ ability to deliver on increasing demands with limited budgets is going to in large part be dependent on better use of its data and information assets to direct those limited resources including clinicians.

            By this is mean health informatics, business intelligence and if NHS units (I’ll come on to that in a bit) can get data quality sorted then predictive modelling is the logical and necessary next step. That would shift NHS planning away from reactive towards even more proactive methods, which I’d say is vital.

            By “units” I mean that the fallacy Connecting for Health had was to believe IT infrastructure at the national level could be imposed on top of organisational size that was logically too big.

            What seems to be the case now is that IT and data/information is being driven at the appropriate level i.e. Trust or Trust partnerships with CfH merely acting as an advisor of best practice and a go to “expert”. In this at least I am relieved that lessons have been learnt.

            Anyway, all hypothetical and I expect Alan will tell you I’m making it all up from my mother’s basement with a 6 pack of 15% proof cider in hand…….

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Oh, they do Holly, as well as big men.  I remember the tears both my parents cried when the Argentines surrendered in the Falklands.  Tears of joy.  Most of the barrio was also celebrating, because it also meant that Argentina could no more threaten our sovereignty over the islands in Patagonia.  I was sent to the square in front of the flat with my sister to let off fireworks.

            These were not tears of triumph, and many Argentines died, as well as soldiers in the Royal Marines and the Navy which is never a matter of any form of celebration.

  • The latest casualty of kens fabulous campaign seems to be the membership  of labour blogger alex hilton, after 21 years in the party, any reactions ? 

    • treborc1

       Comes a time you take stock, I joined the party when leaving school, I then joined my Union because I had to closed shop, 40 odd years  and then I left due mainly to not liking being call work shy or a scrounger from a bunch of walleys who took up politics because they Knew they’d fail in  business, or came to Politics to go into business, as did Blair.

      So politics rather then work hard, or get an address book filled on your travels to make millions by going to war.

      Vote labour.

  • AlanGiles

    Take a look at the image Atul Hatwal and Dan Hodges, the “brains”(?) behind Labour Uncut try to project for their PR company – the sound of gunfire on each link yhou click. The opening page of a man in a gas mask (Operhaps Dan or Atul had severe flatuence the day of the photo shoot?

    The company is called “Fifth Column” (very appropriate) A pair of fantasists who try to project a hard-man image – then take a look at their photographs Hatwal looks like a 1930s lounge lizard direct from an episode of Poirot and Hodges looks like a retired ballet dancer, or a model for 1950s knitting patterns for sweaters. A pair of soft lads, pretending they are hard men, and while the pen might be mightier than the sword this pair of effette toffs would run a mile from personal danger

    They are so “good” one of their self-aggrandising quotes to show how good they are goes back to a 2003 blurb. One assumes the past seven years hasn;’t been so kind to them.

    • Daniel Speight

       I do like this Alan. In foreign climes we used to joke that everyone you meet in a bar is either ex-SAS or a retired green beret. These two jokers would fit right in.

  • Holly

    Up here in Yorkshire the word is the whole thing was fake.
    I have not watched or heard any of the thing, and why would I…It’s fake.

    What Londoners are making of all these childish shenanigans by the runners who knows, but the entire thing should be an embarrassment to those partaking (cool word for a Saturday morning eh?) in the campaigns.
    Personally I would not vote for any of them, especially the one’s going further than simply asking them to ‘Vote for me’, but asking Londoner’s to vote for X as their second preference.

    Londoner’s have the enviable opportunity to change the political ‘norm’ in London, I would grab it with both hands, and only have to use one, to send ‘shockwaves’ to the arrogant one’s who reckon THEY should be Mayor.

  • Lema

    don’t forget that nothing that each candidate says is legally binding. Manifesto’s are just a way of saying the right things to get elected and can be discarded once the votes have been counted.

  • Why is it that many labour types dont seem to be able to discuss things without throwing personal insults about ? Usually sexist or classist ones.

  • alexagiusuk

    Ken’s election broadcast was a successful campaign
    initiative much admired and not ridiculed.


    Ken’s policies are realistic, fully costed and within the
    mayors power to implement.


    Ken has paid every penny of tax that he should do.


    Ken would never support the gay community when he wanted their
    votes and then dump for a larger voting group playing one group off against
    each other like the BNP do.


    Ken loves to holiday in Israel.


    Ken’s party political broadcast featured ordinary


    Ken cried because he was so overwhelmed by the genuine support
    from ordinary Londoners.


    Ken is a man of the upmost personal integrity with high
    standards in ethical moral values.


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