Wednesday, 3 June 2009

What to do with your votes tomorrow? Ask Bill Bailey

European and EU elections tomorrow. All I shall do on this matter is refer you to three tweets from @RealBillBailey earlier today

#1 not keen on the Lab/Con/Lib Dem triumvirate of disappointment? check this out:

#2 or, if voting for any party doesn't appeal, instead of putting an X why not just draw a picture of a lovely horse...

#3 or draw a rabbit claiming mood lighting for it's second burrow

Make sure you follow that link before you start practicing your doodles though, it's a much better idea!

24-hour news streams and constant Twitter updates causing brain overload

Very interesting article in The Telegraph this morning exploring whether exposure to constant information is damadging our intelligent emotional responses, which are linked to a slower moving part of the brain. Do we still have time to consider while processing so much information or does the amount of information we receive help us to perceive more?

Ironically, this got me thinking. Personally I find Twitter and Facebook a very useful way of handling and receiving a lot of information. It would be hard to have a response to something you didn't even know about. On the flipside, the internet allows people to become far more selective over the type of information they choose to receive. This allows us to mine to a deeper level on subjects of interest that may otherwise not be covered in a short news bulletin. It also means, however, that if we like, we can chose not to read about things which upset us.

All the same even when you read a paper or walk down the street you are selecting what you choose to see, hear and read. At least the internet, and blogs in particular, provides us with the space to actively analyse and comment about what we notice. It's worth taking the time to think about though!

Brown's PR nightmare

Interesting article in the FT this morning that highlights how "Mr Brown’s allies admit it is proving impossible to shift the media off a “narrative” that his authority is shot and that Labour is heading for electoral oblivion."

It goes on to say that in light of this media narrative:

"The prime minister’s team is furious yet impotent. They point out that Alistair Darling, chancellor, and Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, are pilloried in the press for repaying expenses claims but senior Conservatives seem to have escaped lightly. “The media have decided there is a crisis, but David Cameron and half of his front bench have had to pay back expenses – we don’t hear much about that,” said one Labour MP."

So how, as Labour media stratigist, would you deal with this?

Intriguingly the writer of this article also subscribes to this narrative:

"the vultures are circling over Mr Brown’s government. A sense of morbid despair hangs over conversations with Labour MP and ministers, their passion for politics sapped by more than a decade in power and the corrosive effect of the expenses scandal."

It's funny but for some time since Cameron came in and Blair left I've had the feeling that we're at one of those sea change moments in British politics, when the electorate has just had enough of the old and beleives that the answer is to elect in another party. It's a strange experience to see how such consensus gathers and builds in the media, starting in the world of PR and public affairs where agencies have been recruiting Tory favourites with access to Cameron's inner circle for the last few years.

The expenses scandal, however, has blown Cameron's confident Tories just as far off course, and likewise the Lib Dems, paving the way for what many are predicting will be a strong turn out for smaller parties and independents. It remains to be seen whether this sentiment still holds true when Brown finally does allow the election to take place at the very latest date possible. If he is still in the job by then, of course!

It will be interesting to see what Labour does now. They can hardly topple Brown and install a second PM 'without a mandate' in one term. They should have held the election the minute Blair left, but now their best bet must surely be to cling on and hope that Brown's new cabinet can somehow come up with some new ideas that, as Lord Falconer said on Radio 4 this morning, can demonstrate "a change of politics which doesn't require a change of leadership". This will be a very difficult job to communicate given the prevailing media picture of Brown as the bumbling and ineffective captain of an already sinking shop.