After Labour’s HQ was stung by a series of damaging briefings to Guido Fawkes, yet another attempted crackdown on leaks is underway at Victoria Street this week, Political Scrapbook can reveal.
Forced to bring their “Better off with Ken” launch forwards after Boris used the exact same phrasing, the Ken Livingstone campaign are now working on the basis that a central element of their war book was leaked to the Tory mayoral team.
In the rush to move the Better off with Ken branding forwards a week before their fully-branded battle bus was ready, Ken’s campaign used a photoshop mock-up prepared by an advertising agency in a blog post (unwisely) entitled “Better off with Ken bus launch”. Naturally, this was seized upon by Guido Fawkes and Boris campaigner journalist Andrew Gilligan as a “fake” vehicle copying Boris’ slogan.
With the Ken team claiming they have been working on the “Better off” theme since January, however, their having first dibs on this slogan does seem to be supported by the information on record:
- Mon March 12: Steve Pound MP video concludes with slogan “You’re better off with Ken”
- Tue March 13: Boris Johnson team buy BetterOffWithKen.com domain and redirect it to their own attack site
- Wed 14 March: Boris campaign publish document with “Better off with Boris” logo
- Wed 14 March: Ken team respond by bringing “Better off with Ken” theme forward
- Fri 16 March: Boris launches plain white bus with advert on the side and what looks to be a hastily-prepared “Better off with boris” poster in the window.
- Fri 16 March: Ken team forced to rush plans for their own bus out
Why purchase a domain name related to your opponent — briefing a right-wing blogger that you had done so — unless you knew what they were planning? Why launch a battle bus branded only with a conventional side-advert and crappy poster when your campaign is fully funded?
Neutralising your opponents’ slogan by running it ancillary to your own campaign on the basis of information obtained by a leak: classic Lynton Crosby.