Woken up by the alarm clock of nonsense

You know, I tried not to comment on the whole ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ nonsense, I really did. But then, just when I thought I was out, Lib Dem Voice pulled me back in by printing some of the most vapid nonsense I’ve ever read. Indeed, I initially thought it was a new satirical column, but it turns out that Johnny LeVan-Gilroy is apparently a real person (or ‘a cross-media brand consuming human unit’ as he might refer to himself) and we are meant to take that article seriously. (Admittedly, there is still the possibility that it’s a new version of the Sokal hoax, but it feels unlikely)

OK, so ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ is just some nonsense branding phrase, perhaps a scene from The Thick Of It come to life and almost definitely heading to the same graveyard of forgotten political groupings as David Cameron’s ‘Great Ignored‘. But, what gods have we offended and what sins did we commit in a past life to have this drivel inflicted upon us?

Because of these possibilities, and the fact a national brand is now required, the Liberal Democrats are going to have to wise up to how those demographics consume content, what the media landscape will be like in 2015 and how the party has been about as redundant as an actor in Avatar at being able to communicate to these voters during the periods between elections when brand development is paramount. Becoming closer with News Corp should be key to this as they are the gatekeepers and have a direct phone line to ‘Alarm Clock Britain’.

The party also needs to look at reforming its national capabilities to be more responsive to branding, communicating to demographic groupings and adapting to the new dynamic and opportunities in government and new forms of content consumption. The latter remains the least important right now but it cannot be left to neutral civil services, as this domain has no arbitrators to be editorially objective or neutral.

Silly me, thinking politics is about values, principles, policies and ideology. No, it should be about a content-free world of ‘brand development’ and ‘content consumption’.

Remember when we used to mock Labour for their dependence on spin and soundbites, their lack of any ideology beyond what would drive the next news cycle? Yeah, I should have realised that was all being played out over a soundtrack of ‘you will be like us’.

Whatever marketing-bots like to say, the Lib Dem surge in the election did not come from the anything to do with a world where ‘branding plays as much a part as policy’. It came because people were fed up with micro-managed, content-free, focus grouped to death politics and saw, just for a moment, the prospect of something different. The reason we’re floundering now is not because we’ve failed to ‘be more responsive to branding’ but because we look like we’re becoming just like the other two and operating in a vacuum world of nonsense speak.

The last thing the Liberal Democrats need right now is an influx of drones telling us how to connect to ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ or whatever the next key demographic will turn out to be – my guess is either ‘takeaway temps’ or ‘couch share couples’, but a decent random word generator will help you generate your own – but I fear that’s exactly what we’re going to get.

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7 Comments to "Woken up by the alarm clock of nonsense"

  1. January 12, 2011 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    RT @nickjbarlow: Blogged: Woken up by the alarm clock of nonsense: You know, I tried not to comment on the whole ‘Alarm Clock Bri… http://bit.ly/giK9m2

  2. tom's Gravatar tom
    January 12, 2011 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    You can have as many values, principles as you like but until you have the money to back them up it’s all hot air.

    People on the left of the party need to answer one question: `in a benefits system whereby there’s a disincentive to save or work what do you tell people that DO`?

    It seems to claim anything these days you have to either have children, be at the bottom of the pile or know how to play the system. That is a reality learnt by many of `alarm clock britain` or `would like to have an alarm clock britain`.

    It’s time for pragmatism not clapped out idealism that doesn’t relate to the real world.

  3. January 12, 2011 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s absurd, obviously, but it’s also nasty: Clegg’s article in The Sun is aimed at encouraging people not on benefits and in jobs to hate and despise people on benefits and not in jobs. Ministers of all parties have engaged in this kind of thing, to be sure. But it’s shameful, and Clegg should feel ashamed of himself (except that one thing we know by now, of course, is that he’s shameless, which is part of what makes it all so funny).

  4. January 12, 2011 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Woken up by the alarm clock of nonsense http://bit.ly/ibUGKo

  5. January 12, 2011 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Vapid nonsense indeed. How low has this once-great party gone for it to be taking its cues from total Nathan Barleys like this Johnny bloke?

    As for the concept of “Alarm Clock Britain”, Chris Brooke above has it spot-on. It’s just those ever-popular “hardworking families” given a brand relaunch, complete with the latent subtext that benefit claimants, the economically inactive, and others who somehow don’t fit this pattern are just untermenschen to be hated and hounded.

    Whatever happened to “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”, as stated in the preamble to the Party’s federal constitution?

  6. Bourgeois's Gravatar Bourgeois
    January 18, 2011 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Burkesworks, how’s your 1p membership of Labour working out for you? Sold your soul cheaply, I see.

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