Ken Livingstone fans revisit the failed ‘Tory Toffs’ tacticPosted on October 10, 2011
Boris Johnson spoke at a Lambeth & Southwark Conservatives event last night in Lambeth Town Hall, rallying the troops in advance of next year’s GLA and London Mayoral election. In a retro return to the old days, a gaggle of Labour and Trade Union activists picketed the event, heckling guests as they arrived and making a minor nuisance of themselves.
It wasn’t just the sight of lefty pickets at Tory events that was a blast from the past, though – Ken Livingstone’s camp appear to be revisiting the “Tory Toffs” attack strategy that ultimately doomed Labour in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. The organisers told protesters:
We would ask that formal dress be worn; bring your champagne flutes and martini glasses in the hope someone will provide some drink, and join us in trying to ensure that everyone may eat cake.
For those who don’t recall, this was exactly the approach that Labour took in Crewe and Nantwich in 2008 – Labour supporters turned up dressed in top hats to pursue an explicit class war strategy that they seemed convinced would work. It didn’t – the Conservatives got a 17% swing to take the seat, in part because voters were turned off by the stench of class warfare and the politics of envy. Even the Guardian described the toff attacks as “patronising, old-fashioned and divisive”.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people who support Ken Livingstone are quite keen on things that are “patronising, old-fashioned and divisive”, given that you could plausibly put the phrase on Ken’s business card, but it doesn’t bode well for his election prospects. Particularly given that his old ally Lee Jasper was back in the thick of things, too, promoting the event on Twitter.
So here they are in all their glory, the politics-of-envy, class warriors who Ken apparently hopes will hand him the keys to the capital. I suspect the Boris campaign will be hoping they are wheeled out on a regular basis right up to polling day – as Crewe showed us, the more they do this, the more they will deter voters:
Tags: 2012, Back Boris 2012, Boris, Boris Johnson, By-elections, Class War, Conservatives, Crewe and Nantwich, Edward Timpson, Elections, Facebook, Ken Livingstone, Labour, Lambeth, Lee Jasper, London, London Mayoral Election, opinion, Politics, Red Ken, Socialism, Southwark, Tory Toffs, Twitter