Support 100 years of independent journalism.

28 March 2010

Get ready for the nastiest campaign ever

Unholy politics on a holy day.

By James Macintyre

The new Tory posters, to which Jon Bernstein referred earlier today, have just been driven around Westminster and past Downing Street along Whitehall. They carry personal attacks on Gordon Brown’s integrity. As Jon said, there is nothing new in that (and it is worth noting that supposedly nice “Dave” Cameron is leading what is actually a very unmodernised campaign, drawing on the brightest ideas from the sniggering clever-clogses at Conservative headquarters).

But what is clear is that the Tories and their many friends in the right-wing media (especially Rupert Murdoch’s Sun and News of the World) are preparing for the nastiest of campaigns, at least since the destruction of Neil Kinnock in 1992.

Labour will hit back hard with what Peter Mandelson has called a “ballsy” campaign of its own, because the governing party has nothing to lose. The real loser, however, will be respect for politics, and voter turnout.

Today is Palm Sunday, an important moment in the Christian calendar and the start of Holy Week. Around the country, churches will have led processions out in the streets behind the cross. At the same time, entirely negative political posters were being paraded around London.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

There’s something symbolic in that.