In the short term, the "Tiggers" will fail to gain support—and crucial media coverage—unless they stress their Remain stance. But longer-term success requires a different strategy entirelyby Chaminda Jayanetti / April 24, 2019 / Leave a comment
Those who don’t while away empty hours of meaningless existence scrolling through Twitter are likely to have missed yesterday’s European elections campaign launch by Change UK, the hurriedly-rebranded Independent Group of anti-Brexit defectors from the main two parties.
For all the sniping at the new party’s tortuous struggle to agree on a name, it is the lack of mainstream news coverage for its campaign launch that bodes most ill for the elections to come.
Whereas the launch of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party campaign dominated the airwaves, neither the BBC nor the Guardian gave significant coverage to Change UK’s launch amid the fallout from the Sri Lanka terror attacks.
Without heavy media coverage, the startup party will struggle to stand out from a crowded anti-Brexit field and implant itself in voters’ minds as the “party of Remain.”
Not that the ‘Tiggers’ are helping themselves. They claim to represent a change from politics as usual, and their candidates list reportedly includes nurses and teachers.
But instead of making an NHS-based candidate centre stage at their press conference to talk about the damage Brexit will do to the health service, pride of place went to ex-BBC frontman Gavin Esler, while most media attention focused on Boris Johnson’s journalist sister Rachel—at least until it emerged one of their apparently unvetted candidates sent a racist tweet.
The party has also adopted an inexplicable logo, consisting of four black bars that can be switched into any colour—reflecting either an inability to agree on one colour, or a branding strategy dreamt up by the kind of third-rate marketing twonk indelibly associated with latter-day Blairism.
But the biggest problem facing Change UK is that it is caught between two aims: fighting a battle and fighting a war.
The battle is stopping Brexit. This is an immediate aim that—partly—cuts across traditional left-right divides and was key to the party’s creation.
The war is ‘breaking the mould’ of British politics and supplanting one of the main UK parties – or failing that, at least superseding the Lib Dems.
Winning the battle favours a short-termist strategy. The branding would be fully pro-Remain—in fact, Remain should surely be in the party name—and the party would function as part of a formal alliance with the Lib Dems, and possibly the…