Dishy Rishi Gets Served

Meet the new anti-Tory organisation generating heat by using tactics that have made Donald Trump’s life hell.

A new advert has been released which attacks Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, for being a servant of the financial elite rather than being on the side of the people.

The ad accuses photogenic “Dishy Rishi”, a former investment banker, of using marketing spin to create the impression of caring about the British public, whilst secretly planning “tax cuts for his old mates in the city”.

The organisation behind the ad is “One Rule For Them”; a non-party campaign group (British term for PAC) whose aim is to remove the Conservative government.  The group is run by Adam McNicholas, a former Labour Party staff member.

The advert has hit a nerve.

The video has racked up over 200,000 views within hours of being posted on twitter, without a penny being spent on media.

The Daily Mail’s Deputy Political Editor shared it online, calling it “brutal”. 

But not everyone is convinced of the efficacy of the attack. 

One Tory MP commented on the video “The Chancellor is good with money… Erm. Good.”

Stephen Bush, Political Editor of The New Statesman, correctly points out that highlighting the privileged personal circumstances of senior Conservatives hasn’t stopped the likes of David Cameron, George Osborne or Boris Johnson achieving electoral success in recent years.

However, the intention behind the ad is very unlikely to be to reach voters in marginal constituencies.

One Rule For Them are modelling themselves on campaign groups from the USA, borrowing tactics from PACs like the #NeverTrump The Lincoln Project.

Such groups post deliberately controversial videos organically on twitter in order to generate attention amongst the politically interested, which in turn leads to donations.

The donations are then used to run paid-for targeted ads at politically less interested voters in closely contested elections.

The ads targeted at swing voters by groups such as this are usually carefully tested in research. They tend to end up looking very different to the ads designed to go viral on social media.

Could a group like this end up having an impact on UK politics?

Those on the inside of the Labour Party’s 2017 general election campaign highlight the role of non-party campaign groups in their relative success at that election.

So whilst Keir Starmer will be unlikely to endorse this ad by One Rule For Them, he and his team should be pleased that they’re up and running and deploying tactics that have had success in the United States.

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