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 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.

  1. I don’t know why some of those nobs in Victoria St are even in the party. They should be flushed out with the same ruthlessness that was used on Militant Tendency.

  2. It’d be more convincing if “Better off with Ken” actually sounded like a slogan – It don’t scan half as well as “Better off with Boris”

  3. I am curious about the second item: “Boris Johnson team buy domain and redirect it to their own attack site”

    Obviously someone bought the domain name, but their identity is being cloaked in the Whois database. Very interested to find out how you were able to undo the Whois cloak and find the identity of the buyer and verify that they are indeed part of the Boris Johnson team.

    It probably is – but then again it could be just a Boris loyalist operating completely on their own. Or even just a prankster. I have certainly bought controversial domain names in the past and pointed them to other websites for a giggle.

  4. Why not buy a domain name when you first think of the idea in order to stop your opponent buying it first?

  5. You clearly believe that a B52 bomber has been found on the moon and that Elvis is still alive… And that Livingstone will win the election.

  6. This is the most pathetic story I have read in ages. Incompetents moan of a leak because they had ‘first dibs’ and were working on a theme ‘since January’, but when did they intend to get off their lazy backsides and register the relevant domain? I’d have thought Ken could cover the expense from all the money sloshing around in his company’s bank account. If this is how they run a campaign, imagine what a mess these people would make of running London.

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