Alistair Campbell (tongue only slightly in cheek) gives the Tories a rundown of what they have to do to win the next election. Objectives are easy, if you have a good strategy! Needless to say he doesn’t think much of their strategy under the current leadership.”Political campaigning in the modern era requires relentless focus on objective, strategy and tactics, and an ability to know the difference. Objectives are easy. Once you have a clear strategy, tactics are easier than when operating in a strategic vacuum. It is strategy that is hardest of the three, and that is where I analyse Howard as being at his weakest”.
Interestingly, (for a man often viewed as the ‘evil one of spin’) he believes the Tories focus too much on the media and not enough on the real world conditions of the electorate:
“Modern political coverage in the 24-hour media age exposes a disconnection between the day-to-day media swirl and the reality of most people’s lives. Howard makes a mistake in focusing too much on the former, with the result that he is not breaking through on the latter. His interventions in the public arena tend to be set not by a strategy of his own, but by the passing controversy of that day’s media. That has to change”.
Indeed it is easy to see what the key election winning strategy has been throughout Labour’s second term in Britain:
“Ask them [voters] if the education system or the NHS as a whole is improving and they are less certain. We’re back to the disconnection. Real world good. Media world bad. But when it comes to deciding how to vote to decide the next election, the real world is the one that matters.”
And how did Blair do it:
“One of Blair’s great strengths was to highlight problems in the country without giving the sense that he was running it down the whole time”.
It’s almost certain that individuals within all four of NI’s big parties have been watching (and learning) from this modern democracy game ‘across the water’. But it’s equally as certain that not all their parties have been listening to them.
Thanks to David for the tip.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty