LABOUR’S general election campaign will be fought “on the ground”, the party’s chief strategist has said as he admitted the Conservatives could spend three times more than them.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, said the focus would switch from an “air war” of posters and press conferences to local activism on the doorstep amid an “unprecedented levels of mistrust in politicians and politics itself”.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
David Cameron yesterday launched the Tories’ campaign four months ahead of the poll with a poster and appeal to voters to “stay on the road” to economic recovery.
But writing in the Guardian, Mr Alexander said: “When I first ran a general election campaign in 2001, my main focus was the election air war of posters and press conferences. The job description has changed. The air war still has its place, but it is on the ground where this election will be won or lost.
“Anyone who, like me, spent last summer in church halls and village halls, on high streets and doorsteps across Scotland, will understand this demand for dialogue.
“The Tories may be able to outspend us by as much as three to one, but on the ground in the key seats, we aim to outnumber their diminished and demoralised activists by the same margin as we fight this election conversation by conversation, doorstep by doorstep, community by community.”
Mr Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, added the party’s campaign, starting next week, was based on five pledges; reducing the deficit, controlling immigration, improving the NHS and public services and the future of young people.
According to the Electoral Commission Labour spent £8m on the 2010 election campaign, while the Tories spent £16.6m. The overall spend across all parties was £31.8m, meaning the Tories accounted for more than half of all campaign spending.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Conservatives first campaign poster of the year - with the slogan Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy - Mr Cameron said it was “absolutely crucial” that the party triumphed in May.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS