Britain’s Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has conscripted the services of American campaigns professional David Axelrod, otherwise known as the architect behind President Barack Obama’s U.S. election victory in 2008.
The appointment of Axelrod to the Labour team is the latest in a long line of foreign consultants brought in to try and help Ed Miliband’s team on the run up to the UK General Election in May 2015. Axelrod follows in the footsteps of 69-year-old U.S. community organiser Arnie Graf, who embarrassed Labour by claiming he was working for them, rather than consulting for them, without a UK work permit.
Axelrod will go toe-to-toe with the Conservative Party’s elections guru Lynton Crosby, who is known for his ruthless, right-wing, populist campaigning measures. While Axelrod can boast about his work on the campaigns of Eliot Spitzer and Barack Obama, Crosby described as the “Australian Karl Rove” has masterminded the elections of Australian prime minister John Howard and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Obama’s former advisor said he had opted to join the Labour campaign team “because I have had some long conversations with Ed Miliband over the course of the past year and it was less about politics, and more about this issue of how in the 21st century you create healthy economies in which opportunity is broadly available, and people can stay ahead of the cost of living.”
Interestingly, the appointment means that Axelrod may square off against his old Obama-campaign partner Jim Messina, who the Conservative Party snapped up last summer.
The Guardian reports that Axelrod said: “I do not want to say too much before I enter the political arena but from what I have read the Ukip movement has dragged Cameron to the right on Europe, and we have seen some of the same impact on the Republican party from the Tea Party.”