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« Michael Howard unhappy at criticisms of his campaign | Main | Michael Ancram’s recipe: fewer blame-games, more party democracy, less cosy consensus »


Mark O'Brien

But David, all we can do is present our policies and wrap them up in a lot of nice words, but if people still think of us as a bunch of horrible, selfish people, I don't know what more we can do to convince them otherwise. As I've said, the people are cleverer after years of New Labour. They won't fall for media manipulation or a few simple and - once you're elected - completely ineffective slogans like they did years ago. We've got to have some respect for the people and hope beyond hope that they will give us an opportunity to state our case in the best terms we can and engage in debate about our principles and our policies. Treating people arrogantly and patronisingly, expecting them to go weak at the knees whenever we have a big, flashy campaign launch, and treating anybody who responds differently as wrong in the head is a New Labour thing to do.

David Sergeant

Mark, Been a bit of delay getting hang of new site.

1.My point was that we never consistantly pushed our policy. It is no good putting out a policy and hoping for the best. It should get regularly mentioned by writing to papers in leaflets and oportunities taken to point out how would help in the given situation.

2.We have a bad image because we have done nothing to improve it. The electorate has been subjected to a, mostly dishonest, version of what we did in the past. If we addressed our stewardship of the NHS, which was pretty reasonable, and people saw that progress was made we would not have so much trouble getting policies across.

All the above is, of course, hard work and unglamorous; we all want to be the one running the country rather than just a salesman. We want an Alister Campbell, or a Norman Tebbitt!

Mark O'Brien

You're right on both counts David. But we can't duck the big policies for fear of them not fitting in with some fresh new image.


David, we most definetly do not want an Alistair Campbell now,or ever.
Whilst he has won many short term gains for Labour,the image of politics and politicians in general has,in my opinion,never been lower.
Adangerious state of affairs and caused in large part I feel by the antics of Campbell and his ilk

David Sergeant

Sorry about mentioning Alister Campbell! My point was that Campbell - and Norman Tebbitt and Cecil Parkinson - concentrated on putting the party in general over to the electorate. Nobody seems to have done that and as a result the electorate has a very poor, very inacurate image of us. It is so bad that they stop likeing our policies when they realise they are ours. How low can you go?

It seems to me that while we are all talking of possible big ideas for policies - something which must happen all the time - no one is talking about how the policies are put across, which, of course, is more difficult. Worse, as matters stand if we produce a real winning new policy (assuming Labour don't run with it) electors are going to discount it in advance. They even be persuaded to think it is just populist.

It just seems to me that the answer to these problems is so simple.

Mark O'Brien

David, don't you agree that we actually have to have policies which everybody broadly agrees on and has thought through properly before we start thinking about how they'll play with the electorate? If presentation came first in our minds, and policy was made up depending on our presentational success, we'll get a lot of votes but not a clear plan for what to do once we get elected.

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