It is being reported this morning that the Labour party will run posters of David Cameron and his Bullingdon Club buddies during the General Election, accompanied with the tag line “Do you want these men to run Britain?”.
I’ll admit the picture is rather an unappealing snap shot of a privileged upbringing, but it is completely the wrong approach to fighting a general election.
The Labour party preaches about a society where people are not judged or restrained by their upbringing. David Cameron can not help being born in to a life of privilege and wealth just as the rest of us can not choose the circumstances we were born in to.
If the Conservative Party were to launch a campaign attempting to discredit a candidate because of their working class background there would be utter outrage. And rightly so.
Labour has had unprecedented success in the last three general elections is that Labour now has a far broader reach of British society that includes the middle class and upper middle class. As a result, Middle class constituencies (and even a few wealthy constituencies) that were once safely in the hands of Tories are now safe Labour seats.
Now some might argue that Tories are poised to return to power at the next general election given their current polling lead. This may happen but as long as Labour remains a party that is a viable option for Middle Class and upper Middle Class voters, Labour will not spend years in wilderness. Attacks on upper class upbringings can turn voters off.
David Cameron has many, many flaws. The Conservative parties economic message has been in disarray since the onset of the financial crisis and their flagship policy of raising the inheritance tax threshold is apparently no longer a top priority.
By all means attack these aspects of his leadership; but attacking a person’s upbringing goes against everything the Labour Party stands for.
NB: Updated @ 16.55 with comments from Max Kanin.