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 11:33 am (UTC)
ext_390810: (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
I think the problem is that it's not just what happened in 2010, but what's happened to the party since then that means we can't take on that role. Even while the European campaign is admirable, I think it comes from that same mentality of 'here's a small group (pro-Europeans) we can target' rather than trying to grow that group and alter the overall terms of the debate. (In political science terms, it's a preference-accommodating strategy rather than a preference-shaping one)

All the messages coming from the leadership aren't showing that our radicalism is going to be allowed out in 2015, in my view. Everything seems based on being moderate, sensible and stronger economy, fairer society. Rather than anything about changing the system, we're just pushing the message that we can help to make it a little bit nicer - supporting the system, rather than disrupting it.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 11:45 am (UTC)
ggreig: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ggreig
With respect, the SNP are also pro-immigrant.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
What do the Tories do to attract pensioners? Aren't they very interested in keeping pensions low and healthcare as minimal as possible? Or is it more an ideological thing (appealing to "the old days" etc.)?

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 12:17 pm (UTC)
ggreig: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ggreig
No problem. I'm aware it's not something the media focus on when busy demonising independence supporters for their supposed intolerance and hatred!

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.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoeimogen.livejournal.com
Also, the scrounger rhetoric doesn't work so well on people who survived a world war or two and spent decades working so it would spoil their narrative.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think we have the fix: AV.

We were just unable to deliver it, because we were fighting against some quite entrenched people with lots of money and lots of influence.

Date: Sunday, January 5th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoeimogen.livejournal.com
I think we have the fix: AV.

We were just unable to deliver it, because we were fighting against some quite entrenched people with lots of money and lots of influence.

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 07:06 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
What do they do? Partially the latter, I've known some who "always vote Conservative, I can't see how anyone can vote anything else" yet also bemoan cuts to, for example, the social care provision she needed to get respite from caring for her bedbound husband.

But also, Cameron has been specifically making promises aimed at pensioners for years, as have most previous Tories-there were very few ringfenced "won't be touched" benefits in Cameron's pledges and promises, but he was very very specific about things like the winter fuel payments, free bus passes, etc. and now he's come out in strong favour of keeping the "triple lock"—and the media's giving him a pass as if it's his idea in the first place.

Pensioners are both much more likely to vote, and much more likely to vote Tory:
http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/01/06/the-reason-why-theres-all-the-confusion-over-camerons-comments-on-pensioner-benefits-is-in-this-table/

Tories don't want to reduce healthcare provision, not anymore anyway (well, some do, but they're considered either extreme of politically inept, they've learnt it's electoral suicide), they want to break the monolothic centralised planning of the NHS (good) but let corporate interests take over instead (very very bad)—many of them, especially Cameron, genuinely think it'll improve things, but most just like to privatise everything as their simplistic "Thatcherite" worldview of state=bad/private profit=good is the only lense they can look at the world through.

Sorry, um, that was meant to be a quick comment and ended up a bit rambly, I blame insomnia and SB's dogs waking me up whenever I do get to sleep... ;-)

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 07:10 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
AV doesn't do enough (and also, in aggregate, benefits Labour more than it should)—you need multi member seats to promote real diversity and allow minority interests real representation, including radical ideas and game changers.

The stupidity is, medium term, ATV benefits Toryism more than it does any other outlook except our kind of liberalism, it hurts Labour and neuters the UKIP/Cornerstone faction in so many ways, but trying to persuade mainstream tories of this is hard work.

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 07:31 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
No, that was really interesting! I find the ways that the Liberal Party in Australia differs from the Tories (their idols) really fascinating. Aged pensioners here are slightly better off than any other kind of pensioner and have better long-term provisions, but there's nothing as solid as the triple lock in place.

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 07:50 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Aye, triple lock's new, we forced it on them as part of the coalition deal, and now they're taking the credit for it with our voters (pensioners that normally vote for us tellign candidates they're voting Conservative this time because he put their pensions up, pensions minister is one of ours, his policy, etc).

I actually love watching Australian politics, although I don't pay as much attention as I used to, the permanent Coalition with the various minor parties and the weirdness that is the Senate voting system and above/below line voting is fascinating. Only fascinating in a "I'm glad I don't live there" kind of way, Abbott is a scary man.

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 07:51 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Yes, yes I do. I got about 6 hours sleep in the end, with many many interruptions from The Barking Ones...

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoeimogen.livejournal.com
We can balance a single-member-constituency in the commons to a certain extent by NOT having single-member-constituencies in a fully elected upper chamber.

Personally, I'm hoping that any reformed upper chamber will be UK-wide, perhaps based on a AV list system rather than regional. It'll make it easier to have people stand to represent particular groups. Plus it would increase my chances of election. :-) Sadly, I suspect it'll be based on Euro regions.

Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoeimogen.livejournal.com
To be fair, All Terrain Vehicles probably benefit Tories more, as they'll be able to use them on their huge country estates...

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