Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
When mixing with celebrities, and especially comedians, politicians tend to come off quite badly. They look foolish for trying to be cool and funny as well, or just become the foil for a joke they do not always look like they understand. Not sure which is the case here, aside from whether Walliams should have turned up and confused the children who attended the Treasury's charity party as his 'ladyee'. Darling had the guts to play along with the engagement and laugh it all off, which does take nerve when the cameras are on you and there are a bunch of kids demanding to know if they are married and why the ladyee has a beard.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The film gained 184,806 views by the time of the announcement as well as a lot of, predominantly hostile it has to be said, commentary from Youtube users. The No campaign also used Youtube, though gets a paltry amount of hits. In contrast to the Yes campaign it has little of a positive message but preys on fears of being 'ripped off' by 'sharks' (or worse with on example) but often uses a little humour as well (see below)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Probably, but only because you can do so much with it. I quite like the Shockwaves for Boris, but I'm sure what Cameron really wants for Xmas is an election, Darling needs a visit from three wise men and Brown a miracle, well you can make your own up. This was made by some of our final years who are investigating the power of the viral as part of their Interactive Media Strategy unit.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
- Firstly, it would be wrong that the only opportunity for parliament to bring the leader of Her Majesty's Government to account would be within a couple of hours per week when short questions only can be asked and, for the majority of MPs, this is a single question that has no relation to any ongoing debate.
- Secondly, the majority of questions from the members of the Labour Party are planted to allow the prime minister to give a good account of himself. A couple of questions I viewed today could easily have been worded "would my Honourable friend agree that the leader of the Opposition got it wrong again".
- Thirdly, it is a huge media spectacle broadcast live on BBC TV and online and so not simply closeted away on the Parliamentary Channel and so each participant plays a role in the drama. Often the performance of a party leader is related to their performance at PMQs, particularly if they asked a difficult question of the prime minister.
- Fourthly, and lastly at this point, it is really all about permanent campaigning and party politics. Opposition leaders and MPs must take this opportunity to publicly score points against the prime minister and diminish his standing and enhance their own; the prime minister needs to enhance his standing: and so it goes.
Today Cameron raised the tragic case of Baby P, Brown talked of procedure, investigations and reports rather than ensuring as of now such a failure in the protection of a vulnerable child could never happen again and accused David Cameron of playing party politics with a child's life. The ensuing few moments (watch here) of the debate saw Cameron getting increasingly angry at that claim and (possibly) taking the opportunity to score further points with Brown saying yes it was terrible but procedure was in place, investigations were going to happen. It was not exactly a high point for democracy and the great institution of our parliament.
But the problem is not solely about the way Brown responded. It is about the context of what PMQs has become. Brown has spent most of his time as prime minister on the back foot defending himself against people who are often better performers than he is. He hides behind procedure and argues that the right response will emerge from a measured process of deliberation and investigation, that is what he is about. He is unable to act the emotional leader expressing public grief at Baby P's brutal murder at the hands of her parents, not is he able to slam Haringey council's operatives who failed to prevent that murder, it must all be investigated. His response may seem inadequate, and indeed it lacked warmth or compassion so it was indeed a huge failure of communication; but it is also a failure of the PMQ bearpit style of attack and counter attack. At the end of the day the truth is nothing will be done for a long time as the failure needs investigating, but you cannot say that; the easy option is to make the other guy look as if he is playing politics with lives, but that can have repercussions not just on the person attacked but also the attacker. The verdict on Brown will probably be pretty bad based on today's performance, evidence from the Have Your Say section of the BBC News website suggests already this is the case:
1303: Have Your Say "The prime minister has shown his complete lack of tact, discretion and decency during this debate. He's a one-trick pony; an ex-chancellor - and, unfortunately for British tax payers - he's never been any good at that either." 'Pavillionend', Canterbury.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"In the months and years ahead, we're going to accomplish amazing things together. No president has ever had the support of such a powerful grassroots movement, and Barack and Joe will need you to continue fighting alongside them. But before we take the next step, we need to get our house in order. The Democratic National Committee poured all of its resources into building our successful 50-state field program. And they played a crucial role in helping Barack win in unlikely states like North Carolina and Indiana. We even picked up an electoral vote in Nebraska. The DNC took on considerable debt to make this happen. Make a donation of $30 or more now to help the DNC pay for these efforts, and you'll get a commemorative 2008 Victory T-shirt"
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain
Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain
Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
To engage with middle America, to overcome negative connotations, to answer critics, to be visible outside the traditional confines of a campaign, to be human/authentic/real, to be seen with celebrities, to get the message across.
To appear on Saturday Night live, alongside Tina Fey (the best Sarah Palin lookalike around) to allow the cast to poke fun and take it in your stride, to appear with Alec Baldwin and others, to smile and look like you are having fun.
To achieve the long-term strategy, or to look rather false or silly, to trivialise the campaign and its issues. To actually be seen to endorse some of the negatives voiced by Baldwin and Amy Poehler in her rap.
Should she or shouldn't she - she chose yes but was this the right decision for her as a candidate to be Vice President?
Monday, October 20, 2008
I borrow the title from an article today's Independent written by Archie Bland who chatted to me about the issues on Friday. The article argues that a bad photo, or more broadly television appearance, can make or break a campaign. Quoting PR consultant Mark Borkowski, the thesis is that "If you ever stop thinking about how you look, you can get caught out." And this is the problem with such images of William Hague in a baseball cap on an amusement park ride, the strange image of John McCain tongue out groping for his seat that has gone viral online and across the media, Miliband and that banana, John Redwood miming badly to the Welsh National Anthem well we could go on. But the key about these images is if they sit comfortably with the voters frame of reference. Basically we all possess a range of perceptions about every public figure, these are called schema. If US voters have a John McCain schema that includes old and frail then these images will build up that perception and could be reasons why they should not elect him as president (this is the point I make in the article about Hague's perceived immaturity, the picture of him as a boy stuck and reduced his credibility). However this negative may be seen as an aberration from the schema, that this is not really him and he cannot be judged by a photo capturing him when off guard, hence then the voter will reject the inference. So while Borkowski is absolutely right about the importance of image the decoding of any image is also a function of existing attitudes and perceptions. For voters in the US, and particularly those floating voters in the swing states do perceive McCain as "a frail old geezer staring fiercely at the backside of the man striding confidently away from him, making a last, desperate play for the vote of the lizards" then the picture will compound that image if not it will be ignored and filed as rather nasty media hype of an off guard aberration by a man who has the qualities to be a President. So the key lesson is not just don't look stupid (though that helps) but don't look stupid in a way that plays to existing prejudices
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"My wife Jill is an extraordinary woman. Jill's passion has always been education, and even during the campaign she's been teaching class during the week and joining me on the trail on the weekends. But this week, she also found some time to go to campaign headquarters and call voters in crucial battleground states. Jill has always had a great time talking to potential supporters, and I'm sure her calls brought Barack and me a few votes closer to victory. Can you do the same?"
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
While Joe will not be in government he is being used as a representative of the floating voter in the swing state. He is worried about the economy and is unsure which candidate will work hardest and do the best job in protecting Joe's business, his home, his family during the recession. Obama telling Joe that small businesses like his would be exempt from paying Health Insurance for employees may be attractive, it certainly seemed to catch McCain off guard, but now Joe is, as the New York Times suggests, a "proxy for all of the country's working people", what is his verdict.
The new star of American politics was instantly interviewed and his words posted to YouTube. For him it was McCain that won the debate and his vote, Obama was a bit too socialist and perhaps parochial with "everything starting at home". But will this be important? If Joe continues to be used as a cipher there is the chance that this unscripted yet articulate small businessman could be perceived as the authentic voice of middle America and so Obama needs to consider how he can win him over between now and Nov 4th.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
It is hard to tell whether Sarah Palin is popular or not, some sections of the media castigate her, others talk of her as the saviour of the Republican campaign: the authentic hockey mom. But what is interesting is the fuss being made of her winking. There are a few clips on YouTube, such as the below to illustrate this:
The media seem to suggest that what she is suggesting is an understanding of her audience. That by winking it is an unspoken gesture of empathy and being at one with the people. Hence while many papers quote strategist Axelrod saying she would perform well but that you can not get away with just a nod a wink or a smile. However her great quality is her ordinariness and perhaps the nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more tactic will work for her.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
From a very slow start, Lembit Opik seems to have launched a campaign for his bid to be LibDem leader. Interestingly the BBC picked up on the bit of the contest taking place on Facebook, both he and Ros Scott have '4 President' groups and in terms of membership Opik is winning 694 to 416. So does this indicate anything, no and numbers alone rarely do. Those supporting Opik are mostly UK based, but include people from the Caribbean, across Europe and one Alex Hilton the creator of LabourHome. Scott, on the other hand, has all the MPs showing their support and hers seems to be the site for the party elite and some of the activists.
In terms of content however, Opik's Discussion Board contains the question 'will he help or hinder the party' and there are 5 posts. Yes they all say he will help, but it does focus on some of the questions about whether he can be taken seriously as a politician. A clever persuasive tool is for the admin to put up the question and get the ordinary visitor to give an endorsement. Scott's page is a little drab in that respect, pictures of her touring the constituencies but nothing that shouts out at the visitor.
Ros Scott's website however is the focus of her campaign. Here visitors are asked to input a postcode or select a region and then you get endorsements from local party activists from the local MEP to councillors to an ordinary, new member of Poole Liberal Democrats. A very attractive site and perhaps pitched right for the target audience of card carrying members. Lembit Opik's is nicely branded, it is yellow, but far more haphazard and unprofessional. There are a range of endorsements from MPs, PPCs etc but it does not have the attractive presentation; but does this matter really?
Perhaps the telling difference is the statements. Scott talks in manifestos and there is a lot of words to get through, but this is ideal for those who have high involvement in the contest and its outcome. Opik offers 12 lines that are about his personal values as opposed to the nitty gritty of politics and the role of the President. It is a contrast between Opik's "President with vim and verve, who everyone knows" and "someone who represents that membership not just to the outside world, but internally, to the Leader". But it depends on the audience which will have the greatest persuasive impact. Is it a case of style versus substance, celebrity versus grassroots campaigner and if so which would you put money on to win?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The rules of the house, however, do require Members to make a clear distinction between websites which are financed from public funds and any other domain. At the time of your complaint, Mrs Dorries’ website did not meet that requirement. Nor was it appropriate that she use the Portcullis emblem on the weblog given its contents. And the funding attribution on Mrs Dorries’ Home Page should have been updated to reflect that the funding came from the Communications Allowance and not from the Incidental Expenses Provision.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
"He is an effing awful PM. And you should be able to tell the truth in Parliament. When it comes to political communication, Brown is just so bad at it. And, let's face it, the ability to communicate ideas is a pretty important part of being PM. He needs to explain what's going on in the world, and he fails, dismally. Do I hate the man? I certainly stand by everything I've said about him."
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
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