And the second debate is over. I made myself clear in my last blog last time so won’t go in too much depth. What I will say is this: It was great to see them actually debating, it was great to see Brown more calm and collected, it was great to see Cameron try to be the strong leader he can be (accept over free eye tests, he blew it then!), and it was great to see Clegg rub against them on a level playing field. I say level playing field, because of though Clegg was in the last debate, he was the man outside the pack (whether this worked for him or against him is a different matter). His last performance put him in the running and he entered this debate with a chance. I personally believe Brown won, it was a great effort by him. In my last blog I suggested he could never win, but he broke out the policies and right or wrong the substance shone through when the other two were trying to be ‘TV Leaders’. Overall though, a similar performance from Clegg and huge improvements from the other two – it is hard to decide the winner.
In my last blog I did the first of a three point plan to beat Mr. Clegg. Last time I focussed on the debate, now the second one has gone and a week till the next, it’s time to focus on campaigning. Brown, Cameron and Clegg have been doing the usual darting around; trying to get to hospitals, barracks and schools to get amongst ‘the people’. This is always a good idea, but relating to the people has to be done right:
2) Campaigning on Catchphrases
Whisking a storm around you is particularly important for David Cameron; he is the one that will benefit the most from high turnout. So far it is Clegg being likened to Obama and the people’s response to him is becoming known as Clegg-mania. Clegg, like Obama, does have the advantage of being the underdog, where as Cameron has been leading the pack the whole way. Britain loves an underdog; this is bad news for Cameron. He will need to whisk the hysteria away from Clegg and on to him, and he will have to do it from the top. Who likes the top? Just look at how much we all seemingly hate the bankers! Well the only way around this is too drive a message home that the people can like. Now I personally think that politicians should say strong policy messages based on the party values, but this probably won’t win the election will it? Cameron has always been pragmatic; he knows how to do it, now is the time he does it. He needs to take into account what his audience wants to hear, he needs to take into account Tory history, find a balance and then find policies to drill in. The manifesto is out, let’s hope they did this before then; it’s time to drill home the manifesto. How do you do that? It is time for great rhetoric.
We love Churchill, we loved Blair and we loved Thatcher! Well don’t know about loving Blair or Thatcher but we elected them enough times. We used to mock Blair’s catchphrases all the time but let’s face it, “education, education, education” is a winner. And Thatcher – “This lady is not for turning” – ok not during an election but still, very quotable; how about “get on your bike!” (ok, again not right, this was Tebbit, but come on it rhetoric we love!) Cameron and Brown can both get out there, with these bold statements on the things that matter and win us over. Obama had “Yes we can!” Obama had “Change we can believe in!” What do we have, “Vote for Change” is the Tory attempt – what PM out of office hasn’t said that. It doesn’t make us believe like Obama made so many. Rhetoric can excite us like no other...it is time to see it. Both Brown and Cameron can get out and do that. Yes, Brown is a man about statistics, but if he can somehow ‘sex’ them up, then he can have a catchphrase we can all follow. The politicians who win us over are those with concise, bold statements we can repeat time and time again, those with phrases we can shove on a bumper stick and those with statements we can’t stop talking about – even if we are mocking. Cameron tried, he failed – get a better one. Brown hasn’t got one at all. Nor has Clegg – this is how you beat him at the polls and stop Clegg-mania.