By Yearwood's admission he had come off second best. One of the few media strategists of an Afro-Caribbean background, he found himself on Today after writing a letter to the London Evening Standard protesting at the way reggae music was being blamed for violence against gay men and in particular the homophobic murder of a London barman.Yearwood had written to the newspaper as nothing more than a music fan and was unhappy at the adversarial nature of the Today debate in which he had been cast as the bad guy. But instead of storming back to the office, he decided to stay and talk to Tatchell, whose Outrage! group, through its successful campaign against "murder music", was bringing much of Britain's small black music industry to its knees. Glen Yearwood emerged from the studios of BBC Radio 4's Today programme last November feeling a bit battered and bruised. The London-based marketer had taken part in what he calls a "t?-??" with gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, a formidable media performer and a man unafraid to confront such characters as boxer Mike Tyson and Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. It claims, that the trio falsely alleged that Lynton Crosby told Michael Howard that the party didn't stand a chance of winning the coming election.
The case is expected to be heard in the High Court in April.. The future, he says, lies in direct marketing and targeted mass media. "This will be from all parties' perspective a far more targeted election campaign than we've seen before. In some parts of the country you may hardly realise there's an election going on."* The Tory party has served a writ on three Times journalists for defamation. But he is palpably angry at the treatment his party has received at the hands of the press, especially its former ally, The Times.
"The press have trivialised politics and gone for the easy kills. They prefer to highlight and knock, and they've lost the bigger picture. If you go back, The Times would have had two or three pages on Parliament. Now it has a page and a half on politics but it's all personality led," he complains."The reports about a row between Maurice [Saatchi] and Lynton [Crosby, Tory general election campaign director] over election strategy were totally untrue [The Times] didn't even check it with us. Our whole strategy is based on winning and we are going out to win the 165 seats we have to win to form a government."And despite "misleading" reports to the contrary - again Hendry blames The Times - the deputy chairman says the party does have the cash to fight a national campaign: "We reckon we will be able to spend close to the maximum £20m." But at the same time he predicts that the days of huge, nationwide poster campaigns are over as the parties focus their resources on the places they will make most difference. Even if this level is reached, however, many VCTs will be left inadequately capitalised..