General Election campaigning has well and truly begun with Parliament having now ended, the first of the 7 headed leader debates set to play this week, and the insults, claims and counter-claims already starting to fly thick and fast.
The economic background of high growth, low interest rates, serious job increases, plus zero inflation could hardly have provided a stronger backdrop for David Cameron. With the economy rebounding so strongly he must have it all to lose. The game kicked off at the final Prime Minister’s questions last week, which took on the guise of the closing credits to Only Fools and Horses with ‘Rodders Miliband’ and ‘Del Boy Dave’ trading tax promises; ‘No income tax. No Vat. No NI rise. No Guarantee’. Since then, the campaigning has been an object lesson in how not to win votes. Rule number one is NEVER rubbish your competition.
The reason; by criticising the other side, you criticise your prospect for having chosen them in the first place. Not a good start then to describe the other team as ‘hypocritical, holier than thou, hopeless smearing socialists’ for example. It is equally important to be clear to the crowd, exactly what they can expect if they do support you. It’s not ideal to drop an early clanger that the captain is burning out and will be substituted off before full time, thereby introducing doubt. Any underhand attempt to embarrass the referee, in this case John Bercow, by seeking to have him removed in the last five minutes is high risk.
It leaves even your own side in tears holding their heads in shame. We are wired to respect authority. Any sudden unexpected attack on authority will always shake confidence in the attacker.
You appear desperate, manipulative and more interested in you than the people you are here to serve; a Public Schoolboy error. Choosing a team mascot also needs careful thought, in the same way as brand association either reflects well or poorly on a business.
Je suis Clarkson may not have been the wisest clarion call. Perhaps all of our politicians need to be reminded that fixed ideologies and rudeness divide us, but enabling our dreams brings us together.