Ed Miliband faced embarrassment over his new strategy chief David Axelrod yesterday when two adverts produced by the US elections guru were released.
Mr Axelrod’s political consultancy firm ASK Public Strategies was behind a controversial US ad campaign which was supposedly by a grassroots movement yet was a front for a major power firm, ComEd. The adverts, which were produced a decade ago but re-emerged last night, warn of a “California-style energy crisis” in Illinois if energy bills are reduced. In the first, the narrator says in California “they held rates down, but the true cost of energy kept rising. Soon the electric company went bust, the lights went out, consumers had to pay for the mess.” At the time, they sparked fury because they were supposedly by a local campaign group called Consumers Organised for Reliable Electricity rather than a major power supplier with a direct interest.
The Illinois advertising campaign contradicts Mr Miliband’s general election pledge to freeze energy bills for nearly two years. The row has taken the shine off Labour’s coup of recruiting the man who helped Barack Obama win two presidential elections.