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Hitting the ground running: The first 100 days
Hitting the ground running: The first 100 days

Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Gerber’

General Election Political Update – Labour’s Campaign

In my first week as Senior Political Advisor at WA Communications, I was delighted to be able to sit down with Lee Findell, Partner and Head of Corporate Comms at WA, to discuss how the general election campaign is going and share my experiences from working at the heart of numerous general election campaigns

The conversation is the latest in a series of events on the upcoming general election with senior political and media figures hosted by WA.

A change in fortunes for Labour…

With recent polling predicting a dramatic and potentially historic win for Labour, party strategists are allocating resources and targeting seats that would have been a distant dream only a few years ago. There’s no doubt Labour HQ has a long hit-list, looking to win a range of different seats across the full length and breadth of Britain.

From regular party supporters knocking on doors to shadow cabinet ministers looking to generate media buzz and voter engagement, allocating these resources is a key component of election strategy and a revealing factor for the ambitions of a political party embroiled mid-campaign. Labour is reaching further and further into traditional Conservative territory, moving resources away from seats that would have been key battlegrounds just 5 years ago, believing that Labour’s position is increasingly secure in those areas.

On the other hand, the Conservatives are on the defensive, and with Nigel Farage throwing his hat in the ring they risk having their constituency majorities squeezed from the right and the left. Conservative Cabinet Members are locked into defending their own seats, with scarce time or energy to venture further than their own doorstep. From Chanceller of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to Cabinet stalwart Grant Shapps, some of the most senior Tories are locked in a battle for their job.

But no complacency from Labour…

Tuesday’s TV debate reminded the country, not to mention senior Labour figures, why the modern Conservative Party has earned the reputation as a general election winning machine. Sunak hounded Starmer with the line that households would pay an extra £2000 under a Labour government, which is a classic play of Conservative election campaigns. They are extremely effective at distilling a message down and relentlessly pushing it so that it cuts through and sticks with the public when they go to the ballot box. This instance has reminded Labour that they cannot take their lead for granted and are all too aware the Conservatives will pull out all the stops to claw back any kind of advantage.

Labour, consequently, is playing a careful game. They have been cautious to steer well clear of making unfunded spending commitments. Additionally, they recognise they are unlikely to have a lot of fiscal headroom in office and, therefore, are careful to avoid making policy promises they are unsure they will be able to keep once they open the books for the first time in office. Labour has been keen to mitigate and counter the relentless Tory election media strategy by avoiding making the mistakes of previous election campaigns.

Critically, the Labour Party and Shadow Cabinet of 2024 is an indicator of an extremely disciplined messaging machine. The uniformity of message and purpose from Labour when in front of a camera or near a microphone is a sign that they have learned from both their past mistakes, but also their past victories. Labour are equal parts trying to turn people on to voting for them as they are trying to stop people from turning off.

How a Labour government might behave…

The Labour Party under Keir Starmer is emblematic of a party that has undergone a drastic revolution from within. They have been transformed into a unified, disciplined electioneering organisation and this is a significant indicator as well of how Labour will behave in government. Starmer has prioritised, at times ruthlessly, installing allies in safe seats who might make promising ministers of the future, but critically will support his leadership. He is not just thinking about how he will win; he is planning how he will govern.


NEXT LEFT? THE SHAPE OF A LABOUR GOVERNMENT

This article is part of our Next Left series, which examines the people and policies that will shape the next government if Labour wins power – explore the guide in full here.

 

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Veteran Labour Party adviser Jennifer Gerber joins WA

We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Gerber as a Senior Political Adviser, bringing more than 20 years of experience at the heart of Labour governments, election campaigns, and policy development. 

During the last Labour government, Jen was a special adviser across three high-profile cabinet portfolios, providing strategic advice to Ministers at HM Treasury, the Department of Health, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Across all three departments, Gerber was the principal adviser to Andy Burnham (now the Mayor of Greater Manchester).  

In recent years she has provided strategic political, policy and media counsel, working on some of the highest profile issues in Britain – including advising top NHS Trusts during Covid 19 and leading the Refugee Council’s response to the government’s immigration bill and ‘Rwanda flights’ policy. 

In addition, she headed the parliamentary campaign group Labour Friends of Israel for more than a decade, and also previously led the prominent centre-left think tank, Progress (now Progressive Britain). 

Jen has worked at Labour HQ on a number of successful Labour general election campaigns, and in the party’s media and business relations teams. 

At WA, Jen will advise clients on political and media engagement strategies, working across our financial and professional services, health, investor relations, energy, transport, and education teams. 

Commenting on her appointment, Jennifer Gerber, Senior Political Adviser, WA, said: 

“From helping public transport operators communicate the journey to net zero, driving access to innovative medicines, or campaigning to secure access to cash for communities across the UK, WA understand how joined-up political and media engagement can drive policy change on issues that are crucial for society and business. 

“I’m delighted to be joining the team and look forward to bringing my political and campaigning experience to bear across WA.” 

 Dominic Church, Managing Director, WA, added: 

“There are few people who match Jennifer’s understanding of the Labour party at every level – from the frontlines of an election campaign, and managing the relationship with the business community, to operating at the highest levels of government; and her network across the Party, from the Leader’s office and Metro Mayors, to new PPCs and the key policy thinkers that will shape the next Parliament. 

“Her expertise will be invaluable as clients seek to understand how a Labour government would work in practice, and I’m delighted that she’s chosen to join WA.” 

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