I’m not privy these days to the inner sanctum of the Labor campaign but I would hope there are a few quiet and very private chuckles this morning as they analyse the success of the release of the so-called “Real Julia” switch in the campaign strategy.
The press has certainly swallowed the idea that this new approach is all her own work but I’ll take some convincing that the back room boys and girls did not plan the whole thing. It is, after all, straight out of the campaigners handbook — a technique regularly used when things are not going well and a divertisement is badly needed. If they did not come up with the idea then the current lot of Labor strategists are far more incompetent than I could imagine.
Whatever the origins of Julia Gillard’s promise to unleash her true self, it was stunningly successful yesterday. Don’t worry about what the pundits are calling it or the voice overs that accompanied last night’s television pictures. They are mere trifles that influence the vote of nobody. The pictures are the things that matter and the Prime Minister with schools as a background reinforces a definite government strong point. And just as importantly it relegated the return home from hospital of the ailing Kevin Rudd to the rear of the coverage.
That it was necessary to get journalists back concentrating on Julia rather than Kevin is shown clearly in these figures from Media Monitors reviewing the previous week:
Having got the attention back on herself, Julia Gillard has to keep in there and the throw way line during a television interview about being prepared to have another debate with Tony Abbott, provided the economy was the subject, was a clever way of helping to do so. It at least starts the process of transferring to her opponent the mantle as champion of the slick campaign lacking in substance. Perhaps for her next trick the Prime Minister should start giving some serious speeches about policy matters to reinforce the contrast.
The Opposition Leader does not seem to be in any mood to talk in other than slogans. Yesterday for him was just another round of risk free photo opportunities. He clearly lost the day because his pictures were not as good as hers.
The market as measured by the Crikey Election Indicator moved slightly back towards Labor.