Theresa May has hired an infamous Tory spin doctor to run her general election campaign. But it’s an odd move. As the same man recently advised her not to let the public go to the polls before 2020. That man? Lynton Crosby. And his warning to May suggests that 8 June may not be the walk in the park the government hopes for. As such, the Conservatives are likely to fight dirty.
Crosby: Don’t have an election!
According to multiple sources, May has hired Crosby, who ran David Cameron’s successful 2015 election win. But earlier in April, his company Crosby Textor warned the Conservatives off holding a snap general election. Mainly because private polling it had conducted said that the Conservatives could lose up to 27 seats to the Lib Dems. The New Statesman reported that a survey by the company showed:
[The Tories] would lose most of the 27 gains they made from the Lib Dems in 2015, including all those in south London, all those in Cornwall and most of those in Devon. Lynton Crosby… is said to have personally told May of the grim findings.
Bloomberg UK political correspondent Tim Ross said that the PM had also hired Crosby’s business partner, Mark Textor, to run the Conservatives’ polling throughout the election.
Did you not hear what I said? No election!
Crosby shot to notoriety during the 2015 general election. Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London said Crosby ran a “divide and rule” campaign, bringing back memories of the Tory’s ‘nasty party’ days. Many MPs, including May, voiced concern over Crosby’s tactics. The now PM said of his campaign techniques in February 2015:
I’m a great believer… in running a positive campaign. I think what people want to know is, what would you do for them?
Crosby’s techniques paid off, with the Conservatives snatching a shock victory over Labour. But not all of the spin doctor’s work has gone so well. He was behind Zac Goldsmith’s infamous London Mayoral election campaign. One that was described by many as racist and xenophobic. This seemed not to concern Cameron, however, as Crosby was knighted in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours.
You’ll pay me millions of pounds? Go on then, have an election…
To many, it may seem that May, in hiring Crosby, is looking to replicate Cameron’s 2015 success. But it also appears that the PM’s election decision is knee-jerk; whether it’s a reaction to the public mood over Brexit, her own party’s infighting, or the looming Tory election fraud announcements from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Because in hiring a man to run an election campaign that he personally warned her not to have, May is risking not only her reputation, but the Tories’ chances at the ballot box. Expect in-fighting, tabloid smearing of Labour, back-of-a-fag-packet announcements, and hurried press releases. As this general election may not be the walk in the park May is hoping for.
Watch May’s full general election announcement below:
– Read more from The Canary on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via screengrab
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