The Dim-Post

June 5, 2015

Quote of the day, how many times have we seen this? edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 2:05 pm

From the Guardian account of UK Labour’s election defeat:

Labour believed they could dominate two full days of the campaign with the non-dom proposal, but the Conservative campaign director, Lynton Crosby, countered with a trademark “dead cat” strategy – a tactic best summarised by Boris Johnson as follows: “There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.”

This time, the dead cat was supplied by the defence secretary Michael Fallon. The day after Labour’s non-dom announcement, Fallon launched a deliberately excessive attack on Miliband, suggesting he would betray the country by surrendering the Trident nuclear deterrent in order to reach a deal with the Scottish National party: “Miliband stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister.” Miliband’s team seethed at the tactic, though several confessed a lingering admiration for its effectiveness.

21 Comments »

  1. It must be very hard to stay focused on the kitchen table rather than the dead cat on it, when it’s all the media wants to talk about – the media seem to get played as much as the opposition.

    I’d be interested to see how long it would take of Little to refuse to comment other than to say, “it’s a distraction by a distracted government”, for the media to stop asking about such issues?

    Comment by RHT — June 5, 2015 @ 2:30 pm

  2. the media seem to get played as much as the opposition.

    They don’t get “played”. They’re willing participants.
    Political reality is boring and doesn’t provide headlines and clickbait.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 5, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

  3. Haven’t read it yet, but have to say, I love the Guardian “Long reads”. I wish our media would do more stuff like this.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — June 5, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

  4. This week’s dead cat is without doubt Collins’ outrage over a couple of parliamentary doors. The story was quickly picked up by most media organisations, low-wattage confusion reigned as to who gave was the doors the go-ahead, and arguably the Saudi flying sheep scandal was given less attention as a result.

    Comment by Nick — June 5, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

  5. *who gave the doors

    Comment by Nick — June 5, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

  6. Cant read through all that MSM shit. Skip to the comments section for what really happened.

    Comment by Simon — June 5, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

  7. So Labour threw the non-dom cat on the table, only to have the stakes upped by the Tories
    So why didn’t they find another instead of blaming the so called super cunning Tories for stuffing theirs

    Comment by rayinnz — June 5, 2015 @ 3:05 pm

  8. The LBJ variant is much cruder.

    Comment by Andrew R — June 5, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

  9. A good read and what stood out for me was Labour couldn’t talk grandly about the future without addressing the past or the really new factor of the SNP. Millibrand really needed to pick out the best of the Blair Govt’s time and use it “Socialism with a flinty face” would have still resonated.

    Also, he had to be more positive about aspects of the Cameron Govt. I remember in a leaders debate in 1975 Muldoon floored the interviewer and PM Rowling by saying of the unions activities under the then Labour Govt “They’ve been very good”.. in a stroke RM removed what Rowling thought was a unique advantage for him.

    And how the hell are you supposed to deal with a stroppy nationalist party North of the border?

    JC

    Comment by JC — June 5, 2015 @ 3:29 pm

  10. how the hell are you supposed to deal with a stroppy nationalist party North of the border?

    The same way you deal with a stroppy separatist party north of the Bombay Hills?

    Comment by Phil — June 5, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

  11. Political reality is boring and doesn’t provide headlines and clickbait.

    Quite. 25-30,000 kids ending up in hospital with respiratory illnesses every year is not exciting.

    A dead toddler, now that’s exciting.

    Comment by Fraud — June 5, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

  12. Hang on a second. Having just read the whole Guardian article there are two reasons for the UK Labour loss that are discussed in greater depth than the portion quoted.

    First, the inability to tackle the argument that the spending of the previous Labour government caused the huge deficits. Neither mea culpa nor an aggressive defence, just muddling along,

    Second, the inability to address the whole SNP bonfire in Scotland, especially in terms of what it would mean for a left-wing coalition government. There was bad history there in not patching things up with supporters of independence after the 2014 fight, but once again, the issue was not tackled in either a positive way to allay fears or in a negative way to put the fear of Cameron into potential SNP supporters in Scotland. Just muddling along.

    Those two strategic aspects occupy the vast majority of this article, yet the headline of this blog thread is about the bloody “dead cat” tactic of scrapping-Trident-means-you’re-a-traitor as a way of burying discussion about the “non-com” tax proposal.

    In keeping with the theme of this thread I’ll paraphrase John Oliver in asking whether left-wing commentators here and in NZ are less political thinkers than political cats, pawing at everything Crosby-Textor throws their way?

    Comment by Tom Hunter — June 5, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

  13. Hang on a second. Having just read the whole Guardian article there are two reasons for the UK Labour loss that are discussed in greater depth than the portion quoted.

    The very next sentence after the extract quoted by Danyl is:

    Labour’s focus groups were still finding that Tory attacks on Miliband’s leadership had not had the intended effect.

    Comment by NeilM — June 5, 2015 @ 6:32 pm

  14. Oh good grief. I wasn’t trying to scam everyone or misrepresent the article. I just thought it was interesting so I linked to it and quoted a fragment I thought was salient.

    Comment by danylmc — June 5, 2015 @ 7:16 pm

  15. Apologies Danyl, didn’t mean to be rude.

    Comment by NeilM — June 5, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

  16. Danyl’s hypothesis seems to be that the over-the-top attack on Milliband’s character didn’t make people think less of Milliband, but it did take media attention away from a popular Labour policy, e.g. the non-doms. It was essentially a defensive strategy – change the subject from something that might make Labour more popular (non-Doms) to something that won’t make them less popular, but won’t make them more popular either (Milliband’s putative treason). It was something of a gamble, because the risk was that such a flagrantly over-the-top smear might turn some people off the Tories, but their polling probably told them that the kind of people who were turned off by that kind of thing had already abandoned the party.

    I saw an article on the Guardian saying that there had been a sudden rush of buyers in luxury London real estate in the week after the election result. No prizes for guessing why.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 6, 2015 @ 12:02 am

  17. NZ politics – brought to you by the letter A and the colour scarlet.

    Comment by NeilM — June 6, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

  18. “The sound of democracy is the sound of constant bickering. Besmirching. Denouncing. Attacking…..The details are forgotten and what remains is the spirit of tribal aggression and mean stupidity” Leunig would have been thinking of events like this one when he wrote those lines.

    Comment by McNulty — June 6, 2015 @ 3:21 pm

  19. What we need is a Relative Privilege app that, when you enter someone’s details – age, ethnicity, hair colour, music preference etc – will determine how much money they owe you in reparations and how loudly you can shout at them.

    It’s a good thing the young folk don’t watch TV otherwise there would have been a lot of teenagers along Ponsoby Rd today fuming sullenly over their kale smoothies about how much their parents are worth.

    Comment by NeilM — June 6, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  20. It’s a good thing the young folk don’t watch TV otherwise there would have been a lot of teenagers along Ponsoby Rd today fuming sullenly over their kale smoothies about how much their parents are worth.

    Sick toddlers in Otara don’t watch The Nation either.

    The reality is that concentration of wealth effects everybody. Either you’re a beneficiary, or you’re a loser. The degree of that concentration determines just how badly you win or lose.

    Comment by Fraud — June 7, 2015 @ 11:56 am

  21. how the hell are you supposed to deal with a stroppy nationalist party North of the border?

    Stop trying to perpetuate a pre-20th concept of nation states having intrinsic worth? A previous Labour government gave independence to India, why shouldn’t a current one accept Scottish independence?

    Comment by richdrich — June 9, 2015 @ 1:26 pm


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