Ok, so its been a while, and it feels longer, but to be honest real politics has been a little boring. It is hard to see innovation without following Obama, and UK politics has descended into a tit for tat battle over who would run the country better. Sometimes interesting but I wonder how much this permanent (propaganda-style) campaigning actually turns voters off. However, and better late than never, I found a great article in the Independent on how an general election campaign may look if one is called in 2009 [as an aside Gordon Brown said on the Andrew Marr Show this morning that his first priority was the economy and an election could not be further from his mind, but he still refused to rule a contest out in 2009]. Anyway back to the story, basically they approached six advertising agencies and asked them what key messages may be prioritised. They chose, and I reproduce the best visual - the new 'Wiggy', (originally done to William Hague) but interestingly it is all negative. The Conservatives would criticise Labour for economic mismanagement, the image of Brown and Darling as Laurel and hardy I could see appearing, while all Labour can really do is undermine the image of the Conservatives as having changed.
My hope is that this image does not translate into reality. While it would be fun to see amusing images of party leaders and notables doctored is a campaign the place and should the Conservatives only attack. The agencies seem to think so, possibly because they cannot think of a positive message synonymous with Cameron's Conservatives, possibly because they see that as the easiest way to win an election. But could this strategy backfire? One of the key observations about the US Election was that McCain was overwhelmingly negative and personal in his attacks, Obama meanwhile compared his 'newness' with the 'system' while slowly become more policy heavy. The Conservatives need to show they offer a change for the better and not just that the current government are (for the want of a better word) crap. Public opinion may not agree that all the economic problems are the fault of Brown and Darling, equally they will not trust a party that simply attacks. The big challenge is what message can Brown offer that will be believed. It seems few (or at least not those floating voters that may decide an election) believe Labour have delivered improvements to the country. Hence we find just one suggestion, the updated Wiggy, the biggest communication challenge for Brown is find a positive message that has resonance with the non-aligned voter!