"Vote Labservatives: for more of the same"

New guerrilla marketing strategy attempts to position Lib Dems as the only real alternative.

Lib-Dem-Labservative-post-007 

 

Another day, another poster.

This latest effort is part of a new guerrilla campaign by the Liberal Democrats, aiming to take advantage of these politically disillusioned times and position the third party as the only real alternative.

It's not just a poster, either. There is a whole Labservative website (with, perhaps, a touch of sour grapes -- "Of course, we don't need a campaign at all -- after 13 consecutive general election victories we can be forgiven a smidgen of complacency"), asking voters why they support "the party of the status quo", and featuring the Labservative leader, Gorvid Camerown.

A slightly tongue-in-cheek, off-centre approach is a welcome addition to the election campaign, and appears to show a greater understanding of new media than the recent, disastrous attempts by the Conservatives. It's about engaging the electorate rather than hammering home the same message with a slick site (cf: Cash Gordon). The Guardian quotes Shaun McIlrath, executive creative director at the advertising company behind the campaign, as saying: "It shouldn't be about patronising an already cynical audience."

Will it be a viral sensation? And, more importantly, will this translate into votes? It seems unlikely at the moment that party politics could capture the popular imagination, but, in what we are ceaselessly being told is the first internet election, it will be interesting to watch how this gimmick is received.

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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