miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Yesterday on Twitter (today, if you don't do twitter but do read my linkspams) I linked to a post called Why Marketers Fear the Female Geek. If you read my blog for libdemmery or Doctor Who you might not have bothered clicking the link, but I urge you to do so. It's the clearest explanation of how marketing works I have ever read. Go ahead, do it now, I'll wait.

The more astute among you will have already realised how this applies to British politics. Especially if you were listening to the news this morning. Both Labour and Tories have announced things today which are desperately chasing a small and shrinking proportion of the population, actively at the expense of everyone else (in Labour's case it's racists, in the Tories' case it's pensioners). Why are they doing this? Well, because they are marketing men. David Cameron worked in PR, for pity's sake. They've identified a demographic they can appeal to and they are appealing for all they are worth, trying to squeeze every last vote out.

The problem is, the longer this goes on, the more people are left out in the cold. Politicians whine all the time about decreased turnout at elections, but then they only ever try to appeal to a subset of those who already vote, which leaves everybody else angry and feeling disenfranchised.

Politics desperately needs a Disruptive Innovator. And it really, REALLY should be the Lib Dems. We made a half-arsed attempt at it in 2010 with the Tuition Fees + No More Broken Promises schtick, and we ALL know how that went; if anything that has made things worse because we didn't follow through on our marketing. But we can, and should, do better. We have LOTS of disruptive and innovative policies, we just need to get them taken seriously by the electorate. Well, I say, just... After last time there is going to be a once bitten, twice shy effect.

I think we're doing better with the Euro campaign for this year. We're the only party not doing the racist dog whistle race to the bottom of saying IMMIGRUNTS BAD all the time. We're pointing out actual facts and things about how being in Europe and free movement of peoples across Europe actually makes us richer, both economically and socially. In a country that's reading a lot of Daily Mail, that's bold, radical, disruptive innovation right there.

We need to be thinking about how we're going to do this for the general. And we need to be thinking about it now, if not sooner.

ETA: it has been pointed out to me that perhaps I could have worded one of the sentences in this better. Pensioners are, as a group, growing as a proportion of the population. But if you are appealing to voters you are appealing to individuals within a group, not the whole group, and individual pensioners get old and die. If you craft a message that appeals to post-war generation pensioners but ignores the baby boomers (like my parents) who have VERY different views, the group you are appealing to is shrinking and you are putting off their replacements.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (saveworld)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
"Politics desperately needs a Disruptive Innovator." I submit that we've already had some of those: Obama '08 and the Occupy movement.

For about a month in October and November 2011, there was a brief spasm of non-violent static protest. People went to the west's big cities and showed by their actions that there was more to life than naked capitalism, that the vast majority were being screwed over to support an already-privileged few, that there were plausible alternatives. Yes, Occupy was a very nebulous concept, it wasn't easily reduced to a soundbite, its PR was (frankly) rubbish-to-abysmal. The long-running camps directly threatened power structures, and I got the impression that participants tended to be uncompromising idealists who didn't believe in gradual evolution.

Beyond the camps, Occupy has left a serious point: representative democracy is broken. As has been noted, the existing political parties are mostly seeking the approval of people who consider themselves to be in the party-political process. This assumes everyone is in the party-political process, at the expense of the fractions who aren't.

Where does Obama come into this? His 2008 campaign sought out and mobilised precisely those people, folk who were outside the party-political process. A soaring victory on the night was followed by crushing disappointment when voters realised that, for all his inspirational talk, Mr. Obama was still one of those political wonks, and he wasn't going to move beyond the very narrow window of right-wing policies. The results included a bunch of politicised people who weren't being represented, the ground from which Occupy could rise.

Yes, politics in these isles would benefit from disruptive innovation (from one or more sources). I think it's got to be something to enthuse the unenthusiastic, and it's got to be utterly honest, and it's got to be actually delivered.

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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