Campbell attacks Tories over The Wire comment
Former spin doctor claims Conservative policy is being led by pop-culture references to TV shows
Former New Labour attack-dog Alastair Campbell has sensed blood after listening to shadow home secretary Chris Grayling compare parts of Britain - namely Manchester - to Baltimore - the drug-ridden setting of American cop drama The Wire.
In his blog Campbell points out that the Conservatives have frequently resorted to pop-culture TV references. The former spin-doctor notes that the Tories say they will be targeting female voters in their 30s or 40s working in the public sector in the run up to the election - or as they put it "Holby City woman".
And, in trying to distance themselves from the tensions that plagued the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown years, David Cameron and George Osborne say they will turn Downing Street into a British version of The West Wing.
"The problem for the Tories is that the popular culture resonances appear not to be a supplement to policy, but a replacement of them," writes Campbell.
He has his ideas about where the references come from. "Tory comms director Andy Coulson can spot a good headline/talking point and Manchester equals The Wire falls into that category," he adds. "It doesn't matter that it is absolute balls, offensive to Manchester, and with the potential for a backlash when they go there for their party conference in a few weeks time, it gets him and the issues talked about, and by the time the next popular culture resonance is called for people will probably have moved on."
Campbell admits that he himself was guilty of "ghastly cultural blah" during his time in the corridors of power. "Adding Tony Blair's voice to the 'free Deirdre' campaign running as a storyline in Coronation Street was probably not my finest hour," he admits.
Other observers have been quick to jump on The Wire reference. Some have pointed out that Cameron, whose past is often the subject of unflattering specualtion, was at Eton with Dominic West, the actor who plays hard-drinking, womanising cop Tony McNulty. Others have mentioned the ironies of politicians referencing a TV show in which politicians are by-and-large portrayed as corrupt, immoral and power-hungry. ·
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