Serious questions are being asked about Labour’s press team after yesterday’s epic gaffe. For a long period of time, as recompense for ultimate and unflinching loyalty, the Chair of Labour Students has been rewarded with a cushy press officer post at No. 10 or at Labour Party Headquarters on Victoria Street. Yet, without any knowledge of the workings of the British media, or any contacts or personal relations with the press, these press officers quickly find themselves out of their depth.
Anyone with a background in broadcasting media would have advised the Prime Minister to switch off his live mic before getting into his car. Yet, his press team were apparently oblivious. By returning to Gillian Duffy’s house, the story played out longer than it may have done.
(Tory attack poster: Kenny Young, previous Chair of Labour Students opening the door for Gordon Brown)
It isn’t just this gaffe that has highlighted the weakness in Labour’s media team. Gordon Brown’s hospital tour in Manchester ended in ridicule when his press team, once again, found themselves the story. The servile pose adopted by the two aides clearly fed into the stereotype of the Prime Minister as controlling and a bully.
The Prime Minister’s obsession with loyalty over talent, and inability to work with people outside the Labour party has cost him dearly before (the Damien McBride case). It could cost him and the Labour party a lot of seats at the general election next week.