, LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 30 – Rival parties in Britain’s election campaign have hired former strategists for US President Barack Obama in an attempt to sway one of the most unpredictable elections in years ahead of polling day on May 7.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is battling to stay in power against the main opposition leader, Labour’s Ed Miliband, with their parties neck and neck in polls.
Miliband has hired David Axelrod, 60, the mustachioed strategist behind Obama’s “Yes We Can!” slogan, which helped sweep him to power in 2008.
Cameron has Jim Messina, 46, who led Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as 33-year-old Reggie Love, the president’s former personal aide.
Axelrod explained that he joined Miliband’s team last year because of his ideas and the “strength of his vision”.
It’s a view of the Labour leader that has been under constant attack by his rivals, who cast Miliband as incompetent and out of touch with ordinary voters.
Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP), recently blamed the US advisors for bringing vitriol into the British campaign.
“What I’m seeing in this election is the influence of these big American advisers and it’s becoming the most negative, nasty and personal campaign I’ve ever seen,” Farage said on radio.
“I don’t agree with most of what Ed Miliband stands for, but he is a perfectly decent human being and for him to just be attacked personally day after day after day – how is that taking us forward in terms of a national debate?”
But experts question how much influence the spin doctors have really had on the campaign.
“British politics has always been incredibly robust and adversarial, and we have a really strong tradition of political satire,” said David Bowden of the Institute of Ideas, a think tank.
“To be honest, I think their role on both sides has not been particularly significant.”