Labouring the Point: Operation Victory and the Battle for the Second Term

2006-03-16T17:47:34Z (GMT) by Dominic Wring
Labour’s second landslide victory of 2001 seemed inevitable given the almost continuous public support for the government through its first term. This paper considers the ways in which the party attempted to maintain and cultivate the electorate’s backing during the last four weeks or ‘short’ campaign. Perhaps fearing apathy more than the Conservatives Labour launched ‘Operation Turnout’ in order to mobilise its core supporters. Though this attempt failed to boost electoral participation the party nevertheless achieved another major victory. In this so-called ‘apathetic landslide’ Labour was able to strategically outmanoeuvre their principal opponents the Conservatives. Interestingly the more telling and potentially compromising criticisms of government policy and party procedure came from sympathisers. These and other points will be examined with recourse to a marketing analysis of the Labour campaign.