Tag Archives: election

So, Mitt Romney just bored his way to a loss

12 Apr

So, campaigning for the 2012 US Presidential Election has finally begun. I love this time of the election cycle, where we can review ads, dissect them and work out who is going to do well and place bets on who will be the first to sack their campaign staff.

Mitt Romney has just formally announced his candidacy by affirmed his reputation as captain boring as  he introduces himself in a two minute chat about what he did last week. What is strange about this kind of introductory film is that it’s not as though people don’t know who Mitt Romney is. He was a serious candidate to be the 2008 Republican Nominee; he was Governor of Minnesota Massachusetss; he has been listed as a potential 2012 candidate since Obama’s win. So why does he need to introduce himself this way? He should remind people of his points of view and convictions, especially when he has been tarnished in the eyes of the Right by his version of Obama Care and people are suspicious of his religion. He has to show his morals are the same as the next good right wing American’s and I don’t think he does here.

On the flip side of the coin, Tim Pawlenty (or T-Paw according to his website) clearly has employed Jonathan Demme to direct his campaign ads. I’d watch this movie, but I wouldn’t vote for the guy. It’s an interesting concept to use an attack ad to launch a Presidential candidacy, especially when Pawlenty is an unknown compared to Romney.  He should mix this, with Romney’s and he would have a much better ad.

I’ll review Obama’s ad in the next few days

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Hustings in Tooting

29 Apr

Last night I had the pleasure to go to a Hustings in Tooting in the lead-up to the election on the 6th of May.

In my mind, there was only one winner, Sadiq Khan. Sadiq spoke passionately and authoritatively on issues that local Tooting residents face everyday. Affordable high-quality university places; protecting our economy from double dip recession; protection for developing world communities and our own shores from the threat of  devastating climate change; sweeping voting reform to get rid of the first past the post system that is clearly flawed; and importantly for me on a personal level, a real and understanding answer on immigration.

Sadiq put all of his points in the context of Tooting, how these issues will affect us as residents.  Sadiq outlined how he and Labour have worked to ensure Tooting is a great place to live. This has resulted in lower unemployment, better schools and a vastly improved St George’s Hospital. As he said in his opening address, as a Tooting boy born and bred, he “walks in our shoes”, so by using the same services and amenities as the rest of us, he understands what issues are important to we residents.

The other candidates ranged from the slick to the all over the place.  The UKIP representative was the consummate stereotype of his party, anti-Europe, pro public service cuts, anti-climate change. The Green candidate was very amusing and thoughtful in his answers, many of which I support and applaud, but he will be the first to admit he has no chance under the first-past-the-post system, something Labour is going to change if they get back in and the public choose the Alternative Vote Plus system in a referendum. The Independent seems passionate on her issues, but again can’t win because of the electoral system. The Lib-Dem didn’t get the support that the Clegg bounce would have assured him and Mr Clarke of the Conservatives was slick, but his points were straight from the Tory manifesto, rather than focusing on Tooting issues. Sadiq has proven himself to be a MP who will fight for Tooting residents and I don’t know if we would get that to the same extent from any other candidate.

I also question the debate format. There was no real opportunity for acutal debate or rebuttal. Each speaker had two minutes to make his point and move on, thereby leaving no time for rebuttal or proper discussion.

All-in-all it was a fascinating night and it raised many questions about the viability about many of the candidates in my mind.

A look at the second leader’s debate

22 Apr

It’s here, the much-anticipated second leader’s debate. What will happen? Will Clegg triumph again? Will Brown again posture towards the Lib-Dems or will he try to go it alone? Will Cameron finally bring up his Big Society policy, even though it has nothing to do with foreign affairs, the topic for the second debate?

Below is a brief synopsis of how I think it will go for each leader.

Nick Clegg

His star is shining bright, so there will be sky high expectations of him. Unfortunately, foreign affairs is probably the Lib-Dems worst subject. Clegg has flip-flopped on the Euro issue and now says taking on the Euro would be a mistake, but at the same time, it is there in black and white in the Lib-Dem manifesto that one day the UK should accept the Euro. Essentially, the Lib-Dems love Europe, especially Clegg. This isn’t necessarily going to go down well with some swing voters, but the question is, how many of these people are actually going to vote for the Lib-Dems anyway?

Clegg is also in an interesting position as expectations are high. Brown and especially Cameron are going to try to ground him. But all Clegg has to do is misquote Reagan again and again – “There they go again” in response to the two bigger parties’ attacks. He probably doesn’t need to answer a question other than make everyone feel sorry for the little guy. I feel this is the best option, because going on the attack and trying to be equal to Labour and the Tories on foreign policy is a mistake – because he’d lose.

David Cameron

If Clegg is under pressure, Cameron is under just as much if not more. He has to up his game significantly from the first debate, where he forgot to mention his key domestic policies. Problem is, foreign affairs isn’t the Tories strongest subject and they have been out of power for 13 years, so their international reputation may not be as strong as they’d like it to be.

Cameron will be hit on his ‘iron clad guarantee’ for a referendum on Europe. It obviously isn’t going to happen and there are a lot of conservatives, not party members, just conservatives, who don’t trust his Europe policies. Likewise, Brown and Clegg are both going to hammer him on the Conservative’s relationships within Europe, including his Polish partners.

His promise to keep an independent DFID and legislate a 0.7% aid budget will also come under fire from ultra-conservative voters. I know many aid groups are pleasantly surprised by this, but when you can’t secure your base, it’s not the best strategy to try to out flank your opposition from the left.

Cameron is also going to mention the Iran question, but his intervention during the green revolution was reported by some as a gaffe. The UK and the USA statements focused on a “we’re watching with interest”, because they knew public support of the protestors would enable the Iranian officials to claim the unrest was caused by UK and USA intervention. However, Cameron came out and decried the lack of support from Brown to the protestors and publically stated that the protestors had the support of the UK people. This was naive foreign policy.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has relationships overseas, in fact believe it or not, he is very well-respected internationally, in 2009 he was voted world statesmen of the year and is respected overseas more than in the UK. This is his biggest trump card and needs to play it. This is hugely beneficial for issues such as the Tobin Tax, Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East in general. Afghanistan funding will again be a weak spot due to issues such as the numbers of helicopters etc.

He also needs to be more forceful I feel. Although he performed above expectations in the last debate, I think the Iron Chancellor needs to be on the stage. Due to the lack of audience interaction, jokes don’t necessarily play well on TV due to the silence in the studio – it makes it sound like the joke has fallen flat. Brown did well confronting Cameron on the police issues in the first debate and I thought the “it’s answer time not question time”, was effective. He needs to do it again, especially on Europe.

Brown is less pro-EU that Clegg, he keeps Europe at an arm’s length, but with an open palm, not a clenched fist. This will make voters feel more comfortable.

But he still has the image problem and that will be his biggest weakness.

All-in-all, it will be a fascinating evening and I’m looking forward to seeing the polls the next day.

cross posted with Ruder Finn Dot Comms.

Election imagery – part one

21 Apr

Globally, elections give the opportunity to artists to make comment on society. It also gives marketing and communications professionals the opportunity to plug their wares. Below are a few examples. I’m collecting as much as I can at the moment, but it would be great if you can send me more and I’ll post it up.

These chips were being handed out at Clapham Junction and are the Nick Clegg version. There are three different packets, obviously Brown, Clegg and Cameron although all three are just sea salt flavoured. I haven’t seen the Labour or Tory versions anywhere except at the Real Election website.

Below is a sticker from the Anarchist Party that was stuck over another ad on a tube on the Northern Line. Its message is simple, that the other parties don’t care. Interestingly it focuses on Brown, Cameron and the BNP’s Nick Griffin, guess they didn’t see the Lib-Dem surge coming.

Important dates for UK economic data

20 Apr

Published in the Guardian online this morning, the following dates and times outline the important economic data to be released including 1st quarter growth or decline and job figures. It is important to note that as Prime Minister, Brown will have the first quarter data approximately 24 hours before the official release, helpfully in time for the debate on Thursday night.

It will make interesting reading. If the data is very strong, the Tories could run on the line it is time to cut the deficit because the economy is stronger. If it is too weak, then Brown’s claim that Labour has rescued the economy looks shaky. We wait with interest

The week’s UK data diary in full:

Wednesday 21 April:

9.30am: Bank of England releases minutes of April rate-setting meeting

9.30am: ONS releases labour market data from February and March

Thursday 22 April:

9.30am: ONS releases March retail sales data

9.30am: ONS releases March public finances

11.00am: CBI releases April industrial trends survey

Friday 23 April:

9.30am: ONS releases first estimate of first-quarter GDP growth

Will the volcano affect the election?

19 Apr

I know it seems quite odd to discuss an Icelandic volcano affecting the election, but the whole Eyjafjallajoekull situation is a simply bizarre anyway. The lack of planes in the sky is personally a bit strange, however, given the whole election as it is unfolding, it is just one of a number of anomalies that is making this election truly memorable.

But, like the wedding that I went to on the weekend that unfortunately saw the Spanish mother of the Groom as well as two groomsmen unable to attend, this volcano could have a significant effect of Gordon Brown’s campaign.

Currently, there are approximately 200,000 Britons stranded in this crisis. That is a lot of voters. The last thing Brown needs right now is headlines in The Sun and the Daily Mail saying Labour ignores British cries for help with interviews with stranded passengers stuck in Madrid saying that the Government and the Embassies are doing nothing to help them.

This is an issue that the Government has no control and I fully support their decision to continue shutting airports until the Met office has declared it safe, despite British airlines making successful test flights across the UK. If one passenger filled plane were to experience troubles or god forbid, worse, than that would create all numbers of situations that don’t need to be flirted with.

However, the Government does need to have an action plan in place and Lord Mandelson, David Miliband, Tessa Jowell, Lord Adonis and Lord West announced detailed plans outside Number 10 yesterday.

What interested me particularly though was where was Gordon Brown for this photo shoot? Rarely during an election campaign like this would a PM have the opportunity to look so Prime Ministerial, but he wasn’t there. The only reasons I can think of are a) due to laws around General Elections, the PM is restricted from making statements about these sort of issues, however I think that is unlikely; b) the Government thinks this might go on for some days longer, so they don’t want the PM to be visually associated with bad news or worse make him look like he has no control of the issue or dithering; c)  Labour doesn’t want to risk Opposition making claims that Labour is politicising a crisis involving 200,000 Brits for election purposes. Option C I think is the most realistic, however there could be some of option b involved in the decision-making process also.

Whatever the reason, this is a problem no one needs, especially he passengers and I think it is extremely commendable that no party has politicized this for the purposes of obtaining more votes. However, with the polls getting closer and all Parties reviewing their strategy, don’t say it won’t happen.

But spare a thought for poor Paul Wesson an independent running in David Cameron’s seat in Witney. Obviously, he has an enormous mountain to climb to beat Cameron in his own seat, but currently he is stranded in the Sudan. Not likely to get many votes there. Can you claim back your electoral deposit through travel insurance?

The Tories are panicking

28 Feb

As I lay here in my sickbed, unfortunately unable to canvass for Sadiq Khan and LCID, slowly going mad watching endless Law and Order and Scrubs, I’ve had the opportunity to read even more political articles than I would normally and it is clear that the Tories are in severe panic mode. Not just the doldrums and messaging meetings that you hear about in the media in general prior to today’s poll that saw them only two points ahead of Labour, but proper sweat inducing, palpitation creating, panic.

With the news of this poll, there is talk of them lurching to the right, looking scarily like the McCain 2008 campaign. McCain was known as a moderate and tried to appear so, but during the campaign, although somewhat earlier than Cameron is being called to, he had to lurch to the right to ensure he kept the base. There is significant pressure at the moment for Cameron to start campaigning heavily on tax cuts and immigration, sure signs of panic and dangerous ground to play, because all of a sudden you lose the moderates. There are even signs that some within the party have broken with Tory HQ and are already campaigning on immigration, without approval, but still in the name of Ministers.

There are even stories starting to question the leadership of Cameron, suggesting they would do better under Hague. It seems so long ago similar storylines were in print about Labour. Hoon and Hewitt seem a generation ago. The Conservative press are turning against the Tories and Cameron, they are spouting panic and that doesn’t help the them in the view of a very confused public who don’t know if they can trust him either. They certainly don’t know him.

There is a Cameron quote in the TimesOnline this morning;

“I would say after doing 4½ years of this job, people have got to know me — not as much as I would like but there are some weeks still to go.”

Really, after 4 1/2 years he thinks a couple of weeks will make a difference? Surely that’s grasping at straws.

To be honest, credit where credit due, Cameron is doing the moral thing. I don’t like him, but he realises that the Tories of the far right isn’t where the party should be. And I hope he doesn’t go towards the immigration  line and it appears he won’t, because that only gives credit to Griffin and the BNP’s argument.

The question is, is this a blip, or is this the Kinnock moment in 1992 that things went haywire for the Conservatives and they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I sure hope so.

Update:

I just saw on sky news that theofficial word from inside the Tory leader’s suite in the Metropole is that the latest poll setback “stiffens our resolve” and “blows out of the water their underdog strategy”. It is never a good sign when you are fighting for the underdog title, especially if you are still ahead in the polls as the Tories are, albeit by only two. points.