Remember ‘on message, in volume, over time‘? There was a bit of a stir a couple of years ago when Liberal Democrats were told that’s what we had to do to ensure that the ‘stronger economy, fairer society’ message was buried into the public consciousness. Which makes it all the stranger that that message (and its later addition ‘opportunity for everyone’) appears to have disappeared from the party’s latest poster. Still, I’m not a campaigning and marketing genius being paid huge sums of money to run election campaigns, so I’m obvious missing the complex subtleties behind the apparent forgetting of a slogan that was of supposed vital importance not so long ago.
Elsewhere, everyone continues to talk about the debate and what effect its had on the campaign but it’s going to be a few days before we find out the real impact of it. First, we need to see polling that’s taken place after it (but not in its immediate wake), and second, we likely need to wait until after Easter weekend is over as holiday periods often cause extra volatility in polling. Any wild fluctuations may just be because of only certain people being around and able to be interviewed, not because of what happened last night. Then again, they could just be random fluctuation around the generally unchanging views of the population, but it won’t stop every one of them being treated with absolute authority by someone whose views they support.
The problem with the relative quiet of Easter weekend being upon us this early in the campaign is that there’s likely to be very little to write about, but I have managed to get hold of three of the five ‘Why Vote‘books and will be looking at those over the next few days. My initial impression of a couple of them isn’t good, but I’ll not spoil my future reviews of them by telling you which. Let’s be honest, though, it’s much more fun to write a critical review of a political tract you disagree with than a dull and worthy appreciation of something you like.
Of interest to some of you may be a piece of academic research that the British Journal of Politics and International Relations has made available for free on the effects of leaders’ visits to constituency votes in the 2010 election. I don’t know if it’s permanently free, or just during the election campaign, but there’s some interesting data and conclusions in there.
Finally, the Election Leaflets site continues to deliver lots of interesting information about what’s being said around the country, but also lots of amusement at poorly designed leaflets, stereotypical photos, poorly worded pledges and odd-looking candidates. My favourite of the moment is Dave Conway, leader of the Stoke-On-Trent City Independents who not only bears a striking resemblance to Peter Serafinowicz’s Brian Butterfield character, but appears to be such a busy man and in such a hurry to be somewhere else he didn’t have time to take his raincoat off when being photographed. Still, he leads a group with ‘an agreed intended direction of travel’, and that’s the sort of vision that truly inspires people, isn’t it?