The ‘dark political arts’ behind Harper’s bid for re-election

Respond to Coup Attempt by going all out to call on Canadians to defeat the Harper government and also keep the Liberals out!

The UK’s Daily Mail comments on Lynton Crosby’s incitement of racism at the time he was an election campaign strategist for David Cameron’s Conservative Party in 2012.

The UK’s Daily Mail comments on Lynton Crosby’s incitement of racism at the time he was an election campaign strategist for David Cameron’s Conservative Party in 2012.

The person the Harper Conservatives hired in September 2015 to manage their campaign has been described as a “master of the dark political arts,” “the Wizard of Oz,” “the Australian Karl Rove,” and “one of the most powerful and influential figures in the [Australian] nation.”[1][2]

Lynton Keith Crosby “was brought on as a campaign strategist for incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative party was losing ground in the polls to both the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party,” Wikipedia tells us.[3] “Crosby’s decision to bring the issue of a small group of Muslim woman refusing to remove their niqab when swearing the Canadian oath of citizenship, became one of the top issues of the campaign and reversed the Conservatives’ sliding poll numbers, especially in Quebec,” Wikipedia says.[4]

Describing Cosby’s despicable tactics, Wikipedia writes:

“Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as ‘below the radar’ campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities.[5] To find such issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions.[6] Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.”[7]

Keep in mind that every Canadian is paying 50 cents on every dollar of the Conservative party’s electoral expenses which feature the destruction of public opinion and of the democratic process in this vile manner.

The Mayor of London, England Boris Johnson, a former client of Crosby’s, described one of Crosby’s tactics in a 2013 article for the Daily Telegraph. Crosby’s tactics when losing an argument and having the facts against you was to do the equivalent of “throwing a dead cat on the table,” Johnson wrote. You “bring up an issue you want to talk about that draws widespread attention from the populace, forcing opponents to also talk about your new issue instead of the previous issue.”[8]

Another example Wikipedia gives to illustrate Crosby’s tactics was what he did during the 2001 Australian federal election for the Liberal Party of Australia. The “Howard government ministers falsely claimed that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia, and Howard, in the final days of the campaign, launched a slogan that later grew notorious: ‘We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.’”[9]

Crosby is a black arts expert for hire. He was appointed campaign consultant for the British Conservative Party in the recent 2015 General Election. He directed the so-called Libertas campaign in the elections to the European Parliament in June 2009. These are his achievements, as described by Wikipedia:

Australia

Crosby started his career in 1976 as a market analyst with Golden Fleece Petroleum. He then moved into politics as a research assistant in 1978 for Senator Baden Teague. In 1980 Crosby became executive assistant to the Hon. Harold Allison, then Minister of Education & Aboriginal Affairs. Crosby became executive assistant to the Hon. Martin Cameron MLC in 1992, then Leader of the Opposition in the South Australian Legislative Council. Between 1986 and 1991 Crosby held a series of corporate affairs positions in the Australian private sector.

In 1982, Crosby ran for the Liberals in the Norwood district in the South Australian legislature, but was defeated. He later joked that “I turned a marginal Labour seat into a safe Labour seat after campaigning there.”[10]

In 1991 Crosby became state director for the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party of Australia, and in 1994 the deputy federal director of the Liberal Party of Australia, serving under then federal director Andrew Robb, until replacing him as federal director of the Liberal Party of Australia in May 1997. Crosby set up “Crosby|Textor” with Mark Textor in 2002.

Crosby served as campaign director in 1996, 1998, 2001, and 2004 elections. In 1998, the government won with marginal seats (swing seats) targeted by Crosby. The election saw the smallest two party preferred margin win since 1949 estimates, on 49.02 percent. By the time of his departure, the Liberal party was out of power in every state and territory and lost power federally soon afterwards.

Crosby was involved in setting up CT Financial, an investor relations and financial communications specialist consultancy, in 2006.

In November 2012 Crosby sued the Australian Defence Secretary Mike Kelly for libel for alleging on Twitter that Crosby had used push polling. [11] [Push polling is marketing technique used to influence or alter the view of voters under the guise of a poll – RU Ed. Note.]

United Kingdom

Crosby managed the Conservative Party’s 2005 general election campaign in the United Kingdom, but was unable to help Michael Howard defeat Tony Blair.During Crosby’s time as campaign manager, the Conservative used attention grabbing slogans such as “It’s Not Racist to Impose Limits on Immigration” and “How Would You Feel If a Bloke on Early Release Attacked Your Daughter?”

Crosby was also appointed to run (the successful) Conservative Boris Johnson’s London 2008 Mayoral election campaign, at a cost to the party of £140,000 for four months of work. The Daily Mail alleged that Crosby had urged Johnson to focus his campaign on traditional Tory voters instead of “fucking Muslims,” but Crosby later said through a spokesperson that he had no memory of using that phrasing. [12]

In July 2013, following the government’s rejection of a plan to remove branding from cigarette packets, British prime minister David Cameron was urged by Liberal Democrat members of the governing coalition to sack Crosby as his chief election strategist because of Crosby’s connection to the tobacco industry. Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow was quoted as saying: “Lynton Crosby cannot remain at the heart of government while he is also serving the interests of the tobacco industry. If he does not go the prime minister should sack him.”[13]

In 2014, it was revealed that having been hired in 2012 by Philip Morris International, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, Crosby lobbied Lord Marland, then parliamentary undersecretary for intellectual property and a former Conservative party treasurer, to oppose the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes. This revelation came in papers released under the Freedom of Information Act by the Intellectual Property Office.[14]

New Zealand

According to investigative journalist Nicky Hager, Crosby is also an adviser to the prime minister of New Zealand, John Key.[15]

Sri Lanka

During the August 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election, Crosby was an advisor to incumbent prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose United National Front captured a plurality of seats and formed a governing coalition along with president Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The campaign featured widespread adverts that contrasted “good governance” offered by the incumbent prime minister with the “jungle law” of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose ten year rule was marked by family corruption and strident nationalism after the 2009 defeat of the Tamil Tigers.[16]

Notes

  1. “Howard’s wizard of Oz,” Brian Wheeler, BBC News, November 16, 2004.
  2. “Pass notes No 3,171: Lynton Crosby,” The Guardian, May 7, 2012.
  3. “For campaign magic, Harper turns to a wizard from Oz,” Laura Payton, Maclean’s, September 10, 2015.
  4. “Tories hire Boris Johnson’s strategist Lynton Crosby,” BBC News, November 18, 2012.
  5. “Howard’s wizard of Oz.”
  6. “The Jeeves to Johnson’s Bertie Wooster: the man who may have got him elected,” Julian Glover, The Guardian, May 2, 2008.
  7. “Pass notes No 3,171: Lynton Crosby.”
  8. “Australian strategist to lead Libertas campaign,” Irish Times, March 24, 2009.
  9. Jennifer Lees-Marshment. Political marketing: principles and applications (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge, 2009, p. 240.
  10. “Who is Lynton Crosby, the ‘master of dark arts’ now behind Harper’s campaign?,” Tu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail, September 11, 2015.
  11. “David Cameron’s head of strategy sues Australian minister for libel,” Daniel Boffey, The Guardian (UK), May 12, 2013.
  12. “Who is Lynton Crosby, the ‘master of dark arts’ now behind Harper’s campaign?”
  13. “David Cameron told to sack strategy chief over link to tobacco giants,” Toby Helm and Jamie Doward, The Guardian, July 13, 2013.
  14. “Onward Tory soldiers,” Jonathan Oliver and Isabel Oakeshott, The London Times, May 4, 2008.
  15. “‘Crosby v Hager’: defamation proceedings used as a political weapon,” Nicky Hager, June 3, 2009.
  16. “New era for Sri Lanka as Rajapaksa loses,” James Crabtree, Financial Times, August 18, 2015.

Source: Democratic Renewal, October 9, 2015 • No. 186. Previous Issues

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