Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why perception matters

Unsurprisingly polls indicate an landslide away from Labour next Thursday, they now lag behind even UKIP. More interesting is, according to the Times' analysis of the Populous poll is that, on the expenses scandal "Asked which of the leaders had been most damaged, 62 per cent said Mr Brown, 5 per cent Mr Cameron, 1 per cent Nick Clegg, and 25 per cent said they had been equally damaged". This does seem surprising given the fact that the worst excesses seem to have been perpetrated by the so-called Tory grandees with their servants quarters, duck islands and moats; but perhaps it isn't! David Cameron saw an opportunity here and grasped it. Not only can he complete the modernisation of the Conservatives but he also was quick to condemn and investigate those worst implicated while calling for reform. He has also openly called for new candidates to stand to clean up politics in a move more in line with the Jury Team's call than what would be expected of a mainstream party. Gordon Brown seems to have been reluctant to sack anyone of note and also to condemn anyone. Maybe he knows it would be hypocrisy, maybe he cannot afford to lose anyone or maybe he just doesn't know what to do. Given he was already unpopular and seen as indecisive and out of touch this could have been his moment to seize the initiative; he failed again. Thus, when looking at who is most tarnished, the guy doing and saying nothing and seeming to hope it goes away, who already has a bad reputation, is going to be in the worst position. The public are probably ready to believe anything negative about Gordon Brown's leadership style; and he seems to be playing to the stereotype some sections of the media and his political opponents have built around him.

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