Labour Party officials are concerned that their new campaigning training aid ‘Anytown’, a model town built in rural Yorkshire, is not quickly enough improving the campaign skills of the party’s front bench.
Anytown, funded through union donations, offers a sandbox environment, staffed by 8,000 Labour volunteers, where party spokespeople and high potential candidates can interact with other people, in order to develop their personal skills.
The model town comprises a 1980’s style concrete town centre with pound shops, cafes and pubs where senior party members can seek to perfect their human skills and their campaign patter.
Catriona Arrowsmith, who works with Lucy Powell as co-ordinator of the party’s ‘The Hand We’ve Been Dealt’ drive to make candidates more electable in the upcoming general election, says the facility is performing less well than anticipated.
“Ed Balls instantly forgets the name of any businessman he meets, Chuka Umunna refuses to drink in the pub. Meawhile, Tristram Hunt keeps shouting at anyone he perceives to be not working hard enough. Douglas Alexander keeps on daubing grafitti on things and telling anyone who asks him a question that he doesn’t accept the premise of it.”
Powell, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, doesn’t entirely agree that the model town is failing.
“In fact, just as Ed Miliband has said, eveything is running perfectly. When we got Andy Burnham to stop his 24 hour surveillance watch to ensure no tories came in to sell anything off, he began to sit tetchily in the corner of rooms, repeating the same thing over and over and demanding not to be interrupted – which is exactly how we intend to fight this election.”
Labour Party observers are preparing for party leader Ed Miliband to visit for his fourth session in the town. Arrowsmith is hopeful it’ll be fourth time lucky for Miliband.
“He is an excellent campaigner, when he stops just blankly staring at people. Well, when I say excellent campaigner, obviously I mean he’s our leader and I’m comfortable with that. Really comfortable.”
Concept stolen from The Onion