The Labour Party’s early electioneering, and let’s be under no illusion that with the General Election just over a year away, early electioneering has begun, received a massive boost on what will be one of the key battlefields – Twitter.
And better still for them, the bloodshed was from their opponent’s own self-inflicted wounds in 140 characters or less.
In the aftermath of Chancellor George Osborne’s 2014 Budget, Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps made an attempt to ‘celebrate’ the included cuts on beer (1p per pint) and bingo (duty on bingo hall profits reduced from 20% to 10%) with a Tweeted poster urging Re-Tweets to spread the word.
As requested Re-Tweets were instant because that is the collective communicative power of Twitter. Especially when a rag as red as a Tweeted Infographic so patronising emerges from an incumbent Government’s central office that even Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander reacted “I thought it was a spoof at first, it’s just pretty extraordinary.”
Shapps’ misjudgment of message was so extreme that even now you wonder whether it was either a piece of spectacularly satirical self-parody or a new ‘How To Get Ahead In Advertising’ style approach to total honesty.
An honesty which sees the largely Etonian front bench collect the boozy, bingo-playing working classes as one threadbare, drunken, gambling ‘they’.
Indeed, Simon Blackwell, scriptwriter for the ‘The Thick Of It’ tweeted in response, “Genuinely,, if that Conservative beer and bingo ad had come up at a Thick Of It script meeting we’d have rejected it as being too far-fetched.”
A follow up Shapps Tweet aimed at the Tories more traditional demographic promoting the cutting of Baccarat tax and Chateauneuf-du-Pape duty remains unconfirmed at the time of writing.