On BBC's Breakfast programming, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell seems to be echoing my comments on comparing engagement in the French elections to those in the UK. He comments that "We've got two parties - two conservative parties - who agreed about Iraq, agree about civil nuclear power, agree about the replacement of Trident. What we need is a party of opposition. We are the party of opposition in these local government elections both in the north of England and the south of England too." But are the Liberal Democrats a real alternative? When we think of choice we think in terms of what we can have, not what we would like but cannot realise. Sir Menzies 'principles over fashion' argument is something all parties should take on board by setting out a credible set of policies and their solutions rather than masking them in soundbites, cliches and imagery. However a question must be asked. All parties are guilty of attempting to present their arguments in a way that appeals to voters, their solution is going negative and not actually offering substance within that communication; the LibDems are as guilty of this as the rest, their 'New-Tory-Labour' site and animations hint at solutions but the actual policy is a few clicks away. So sadly Ming's fine words may appear a little empty.
And it is appearances that matter. If the first line of communication does not convey a message, it may convey similarity and vacuousness; it appeals to those who agree but not to the undecided who want help in making a choice. Maybe he's not reading the blog after all!