To Theresa, with hindsight and Scott Gronmark

This is shamelessly cut and pasted from another political blogger but he articulates it so much better than I ever could:

(1) If you’re going to run a personality-based campaign, first check to make sure that you have a discernible personality. You know, someone who doesn’t see running through a frigging wheatfield as the naughtiest thing they’ve ever done. (I suspect Boris has done naughtier things than that.)

(2) If you’re relying on old people voting for you, try not to announce three policies that will annoy/terrify them, and then fail to adequately explain the reason for any of those policies.

(3) If you introduce policies intended to address “generational fairness” in order to appeal to younger voters (who don’t like you or your party) try to explain in some detail what’s in it for them: they have short attention spans, so you really need to make the explanations punchy.

(4) Don’t treat the election as a re-run of a previous referendum. Referendums and elections are entirely different things. Asking people to, in effect, turn out to vote in a second referendum so that you won’t be forced to hold a second referendum is a fairly deranged and unappealing strategy. That was then – the election was now (or yesterday). And hanging everything on the Brexit negotiations – which a large number of your traditional supporters wish weren’t happening at all – isn’t really that bright.

(5) One thing the referendum proved is that trying to scare the pants off people doesn’t go down that well. It didn’t work in 2016, and it didn’t work in 2017. Funny that. We’re all a bit tired of doom and gloom and warnings of disaster unless we jolly well do as we’re told. That’s why your predecessor lost the referendum – and it’s why you (in all but name) lost the general election. I’ve spoken to quite a few conservative friends and acquaintances over recent weeks, and every single one of them was utterly appalled by your horrible, lacklustre, fear-driven campaign. Even those of us who were fairly cheerful a month ago were thoroughly miserable by the time yesterday finally, finally arrived – and we’re even more miserable now. It’s a simple lesson: don’t depress voters.

(6) There’s no point, in the wake of two horrifying domestic terrorist attacks, of warning us that we’ll all be less safe if your terrorist-sympathiser opponent gets into power. That is, of course, true. But as the Home Secretary and Prime Minister who cut police numbers while singularly failing to put bobbies back on the beat or to stop home-grown ISIS fighters waltzing back into the country or to prevent the spread of Islamism within our Muslim communities or to reduce immigration or to do anything about the pernicious, paralysing reign of political correctness in our public sector – well, it’s a bit late to turn round and start telling us “enough is enough”. Enough was enough a long time ago, only the message didn’t seem to get through to you.

(7) Turns out the “vision thing” matters. You’ve been in government for six years – you’ve led the damned thing for most of the past year – and I still have absolutely no idea what you believe in. As far as I can make it out, you’re yet another big government, social democrat centrist who feels a burning desire to meddle in every aspect of people’s lives – except the ones that would make us all a bit safer. Workers on boards? Really? I can’t remember you proposing a single genuinely right-wing policy. Did you imagine you’d satisfied right-wing voters by promising to deliver Brexit? Or because we had no one else to vote for? But, okay, Cameron got away with treating right-wingers with disdain – but then you forgot to appeal to the centrist wets who Cameron relied on. You seemed to imagine the right and the centre and the old would simply front up to vote for you on polling day “for fear of finding something worse.” Not good enough! People like to vote for something – a vision, an idea, a change, in order to be part of something positive. You mouthed a few platitudes about the trading opportunities Brexit would deliver – but I didn’t believe you believed a word of it. When Boris and Michael Gove and Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell talked about those opportunities during the Brexit campaign – about Britain reclaiming its role as a great trading nation free of the EU’s socialistic shackles – I damn near peed myself with excitement. When you – who supported Remain – talked about the vibrant, sunlit, free-market uplands which buccaneering British adventurers and entrepreneurs would plunder to their hearts’ content to the benefit of everyone, I saw nothing – felt nothing.

(8) Occasionally finessing the truth when addressing voters is part and parcel of a politician’s trade – but you mustn’t do it so brazenly that they feel positively insulted. When Cameron returned from Brussels and claimed he’d negotiated meaningful concessions from the EU, we all scoffed – he lost the referendum right there. When you did a horribly clumsy U-turn over the badly-explained “dementia tax” and then claimed you had done no such thing – we all scoffed. And you lost your party’s majority right there.

(9) We can no longer rely on young people not bothering to vote. They evidently respond to simple messages, delivered with seeming sincerity, and they like to feel part of a movement (they’re terribly conformist). And, because they don’t know anything of life, have nothing to lose, and don’t really understand how money and tax work (many of them live at home, with ready access to funds from the Bank of Mum and Dad, which they never have to repay), and as none of them has ever experienced socialism (lucky sods!), you either have to explain reality to them (good luck with that), or you have to offer them an exciting, alternative vision which will somehow sound compassionate – because they like that sort of thing – and which will convince them either that they’ll be getting tons of free goodies, or that they’re going to earn so much they’ll be able to afford those goodies anyway. There’s no point in telling them you’re beating up pensioners so they won’t have to pay for the greedy old buggers – they don’t have a clue how tax works! Tell them how you’re going to ensure that they’ll be better off than their parents – not that they won’t be. Enthuse them! Excite them!

(10) When your top team includes the single most-popular, tried and tested vote magnet in British politics, give him a prominent role – more prominent than your own, if necessary. Boris Johnson was elected as mayor of a rabidly Labour city twice. He was one of the main reasons the British voted for Brexit. Yes, he makes blunders and he annoys many people and he’s nobody’s idea of a safe pair of hands. But, by God, he’s popular. He’s funny and witty and all-too-human and people respond to him as they do to no other politician. He’s the only living politician who’s known by his first name alone. I kept hearing news of Tory ministers losing their seats this morning – and I couldn’t put a face to most of them. And I’m actually interested in politics. I’m sure you had some strategic reason for keeping Boris hidden – presumably you wanted to sack him, or you felt he’d overshadow you, or whatever – but you were catastrophically wrong to do so. He’d no doubt have lost you a few votes – but he’d have won you a shedload more. This bloke wins important elections – unlike you. What were you thinking?

(11) If this election proved anything, it’s that you really have to be able to energise people. In order to energise people, you have to engage with them, talk to them, make them feel you understand them, that you’re speaking from the heart, that you want to lead them somewhere interesting and fun and either emotionally or materially rewarding – preferably both – and that you know exactly where it is and how to get them there. Corbyn – silly, old, terrorist-loving, anti-British, Stalinist nincompoop – gained 22 percentage points during the course of this election. He talked bollocks. His manifesto was packed with utterly unaffordable, goofy promises – but he sold it convincingly by sounding like he meant it, and that he was genuinely excited by it. Your manifesto – the “vaguest suicide note in history” – was packed with policies that, while some of them may have been sensible, sounded more like threats than promises. Insofar as you painted a picture of the promised land, it was a grey, dull, enervating dump that nobody would ever wish to visit. Enthuse, excite, engage – that’s the ticket!

(12) Be a lucky general. You either are or you aren’t. You aren’t.


Acknowledgement: this is not my work but that of Scott Gronmark

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1 Response to To Theresa, with hindsight and Scott Gronmark

  1. Ben Stockton says:

    I think he’s working about boris (I’m not typing capital B for that c0ck)

    I think everybody hates him now
    He was the lovable rogue when elected mayor. And he was just not Ken Livingstone.

    But only london liked him, the rest of the country already thought he was a bell end.

    After the referendum, the vast majority of remain voting london now hate him too for the way he lied and cheated to feather his own nest. He’s a long way from a loveable clown now.

    Ben Stockton

    Cazar Search Ltd

    Desk: +44 20 3325 5552

    Mob: +44 7825 093 499

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