“Barack Obama's most influential adviser during two presidential victories has been hired to advise Labour on its 2015 election campaign, ensuring that Ed Miliband will put inequality and the break between family finances and economic growth at the centre of his election campaign” observed the Guardian today. David Axelrod will join for the 2015 General Election campaign effort.
Do not underestimate this man
Readers are reminded that he “was integral not just to Obama's two presidential victories in 2008 and 2012, but also to Obama's election as a senator in 2004”, along with a statement of the obvious, “His arrival on the British scene will pit him against the Australian Lynton Crosby, the Conservative campaign consultant, who is one the toughest campaign operators”. So how seriously are the Tories taking this?
And the answer to that is very seriously indeed: we can deduce this from the amount of gratuitous knocking copy already being generated. The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have led the way with a dirt-digging “appraisal” which holds, more or less, that Axelrod is rubbish because some of those he worked for did not win, or suffered falls from grace further down the line.
Not that The Great Guido is a Conservative, you understand. And this view can be dismissed: anyone telling that Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell should be involved in writing the next Tory manifesto is not dealing from a full deck. Meanwhile, Tim Montgomerie is worried “Axelrod’s appointment clearest indication yet that Labour will run a bash-the-rich campaign. I fear 35% of Britain will indeed vote for it”.
So says the totally unbiased former Conservative Home man. And, talking of ConHome, Mark Wallace, former stalwart of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance has also passed adverse comment: “Odd decision by Labour to do a video of Axelrod, their new strategist. Isn’t he meant to be strategising rather than fronting the campaign?” so he didn’t have anything to say, either.
Except, of course, to make sure this hire was A Very Bad Move, a sentiment echoed by Willard Foxton: “It is worth noting when hiring Obama advisors, that electing a uniquely charismatic candidate is easier than electing Ed Miliband”. They all make that same mistake of sneering before stopping to figure out Miliband. And Foxton manages to miss the one hurdle Obama was not expected to be able to clear.
It takes former Blair Political Secretary John McTernan to put the Axelrod appointment in the kind of plain English all can comprehend: “David Axelrod can do for Ed Miliband what he did for President Obama: get him elected”. Sadly, though, the right is not listening. They think if the yah-boo is maintained up to polling day, all will be well. And by taking that attitude, they tell us how good Axelrod really is.
Given the instant abuse, that would be very good indeed.