Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Article by Luke Akehurst on the appointment of David Axelrod

I entirely agree with the emphasis upon canvassing in this article by Luke Akehurst on the appointment of David Axelrod as Labour's strategic election advisor:  http://labourlist.org/2014/04/axelrod-understands-the-importance-of-grassroots-campaigning/

However I am bemused by the five reasons he gives that supposedly prove the appointment of Mr Axelrod is desirable.

Let us look at those reasons one by one:

1  As Marcus Roberts has explained, Axelrod is a good match for Ed Miliband’s radicalism.
Is Ed Miliband radical?  I thought he was just mildly opportunist within the parameters of the soggy middle.  Leftist radicalism means socialism, and there is nothing socialist about David Axelrod.

2  Axelrod likes working for insurgents and underdog candidates. 
Is this an admission that Labour are struggling?  They have been consistently a few points ahead in the polls, so it seems strange that Luke Akehurst is classing Labour as an underdog.  Is it not the case that many people in the Labour party see Ed Miliband as a dead loss, and they fear they cannot win an election with him as potential Prime Minister?

3  Axelrod has a serious understanding of data and how to analyse it...data-driven insights into which of Labour’s messages are cutting through with which groups of voters.
How on earth is he going to understand and analyse the motivations and interpretations of "groups of voters"?  This is so silly it is insane.  He is an AMERICAN for heaven's sake - understanding the cultural nuances of clusters of British voters is going to be entirely beyond him.

4  He is passionate about the role of the grassroots and growing volunteer capacity. 
Oh yeah?  If grassroots volunteers are so important then why appoint this overseas over-paid American "star"?  Why not use the money to put more professional full-time paid staff in constituency offices so they can work directly with the volunteers that are so important?

5  Axelrod’s speciality is developing political stories, or narratives, that resonate emotionally with voters and inspire them to back a party and candidate.
How exactly is he going to do this?  The United Kingdom is not the United States.  On an emotional and inspirational level Mr Axelrod will not have a clue about what issues will "resonate" with British voters - indeed this aspect of his role is destined to result in a stream of political howlers until the inevitable moment when he is quietly retired from the campaign.

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