» alarm clock britain ¦ What You Can Get Away With

I was thinking about Alarm Clock Britain today. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t remind you of an idea that’s hopefully long dead (though I have visions of people in the DPM’s office doing the occasional head-desk interface when Clegg decides he wants to try and push it again) but something prompted me to look up a couple of my old posts on it. Those, of course, reminded me of what’s probably the most vapid, soulless and content-free article ever published on Liberal Democrat Voice, but if anything, that’s got even funnier with the benefit of hindsight.

I know it’s not really fair to pick out old predictions and mock them, but it’s an article by a Nathan Barley-wannabe, and it’s amusing. But which of these two is your favourite?

Unfortunately and eventually, Labour is going wake up to this reality itself and will inevitability ditch Ed Miliband and for a David Miliband who, during the labour leadership election, was proved by various polls and focus grouping to emotionally connect.

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’.

I like the first, partly for the fact it sounds like a random word generator attempting to sound like a human being, but the second – advising the party to get closer to News Corp and its ‘direct phone line’ surely wins.

Sadly, Mr LeVan-Gilroy has not shared any more of his thoughts with us through Lib Dem Voice since then, but maybe he’ll return in the future.

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Like a true alarm clock, this one won’t be silenced easily. Yes, last week’s relentless pounding by just about everyone on the nonsense of ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ only seems to have engaged the snooze button, as the irritating beep of nonsense is back to disturb us from our happy places again.

I don’t have high expectations of posts on Lib Dem Voice, but when an article there starts by praising last week’s content-free marketing-speak brown-nosing nonsense as ‘excellent’ and ‘really interesting’, it’s a good indication that my low expectations are probably not going to be met.

And indeed, it’s more twaddle about ‘a capabilities approach to public policy’ and seeing the Government as a ‘capabilities guardian’, but beneath all the ‘Look at me! I’m embodying the zeitgeist and defining a new paradigm!’ there’s the usual cynicism about politics. Yes, it’s yet another round of only the middle class the squeezed middle hard-working families Mrs Mondeo from Worcester Alarm Clock Britain matters, so let’s spend all our time pandering to them and ‘raising their capabilities’ while ignoring everyone else. After all, a politics that saw everyone as worthy of consideration and pressing to improve the capabilities of all – you could call it, I don’t know, how about ‘liberalism’? – is obviously far too unwieldy in these days of new progressivism, when we must all be sliced, diced and labelled into our specially prepared and demographically accurate cluster, ready to join in with tonight’s round of capability building. But make sure you get to bed early, so you’re bright and alert in time for the first humiliation of the day!

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OHere are some links. Happy now?

The 2010 “Editing Wikipedia From Inside Parliament” Awards – Just like any workplace, Parliament has people who use their internet access for things that might not be strictly work-related.
Trends analyst predicts global youth uprising, ‘progressive libertarians’ in 2011 – Futurology is almost invariably wrong, but it’s an interesting prediction
15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will – Later, in a cosmic twist he’d have enjoyed and/or decried, this becomes the last remaining internet page after the Great Crash, and the world converts to Vonnegutism
The state’s pedlars of fear must be brought to account – Just when did we agree to effectively privatise so much of the senior management of security? Makes you realise that a lot of the ‘Look! Evil terrorists coming!’ news is merely a marketing campaign to enable ACPO to sell more of their product, though.
Just Who Is The Alarm Clock Hero? – Justin McKeating voices my thoughts.

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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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