One of the main criticisms levelled at politicians has been that they are ‘out of touch’. The traditional parties have certainly borne that out in their campaigning and communication for this year’s general election.
Their bubbles have drifted so far from reality that they don’t seem to know how to connect with and appeal to people any more. It’s just repeating their dodgy mythology and stories of gloom. If they keep playing the tunes of decades past, people will be obliged to give them their votes.
There’s nothing in there of inspiration, vision or hope. Maybe it’s just me being middle class, intellectual, idealistic, etc. But I think people would really like to hear those things. I think people would like to hear a story of how we can support each other, address the problems facing us humanely and intelligently, open up and move forward into new opportunities, challenges and achievements. Everything I know about stories tells me that’s what engages people.
But the show opened with clowns who were sad.
Do you remember how the Conservatives kicked off the campaigning in January with the poster of the desolate road? No sign of human life and activity; just tarmac stretching off to an unseen destination. ‘Follow the path we tell you. All there is for you is obedience,’ was the message. And they got a lot of flak because the road in the image turned out to be in Germany. (Image from linked Telegraph article.)
Or there was the Labour leaflet that came through my door. Front page, top heading item: “Balance the books.” That was their gambit to get the reader enthused and keen to read the rest of what they had to say. With all the things the government has done in the last five years that they could kick against with some fire, they resorted to blinding us with accountancy.
Fortunately for balance, this morning a Facebook friend shared this Liberal Democrat video. The first 80% is about driving around aimlessly while people drone on in the background. They’re stuck on the ‘neither left nor right’ mantra, positioning the party in a space between Con and Lab that most people can’t see any more. Defining themselves by what they’re not instead of standing for something makes them look like nothing.
Too much of what they’re all putting out is about abstract economic game-playing. Too little is about people’s lives and wellbeing.
Oh, and have you noticed how ‘chaos’ has become a major campaign issue for this election? Apparently we’re all at terrible risk from it. It’s an ill-formed appeal to people’s desire for a world they don’t have to think about too much. [Read more…] about The election 2015 communication circus