Sunday, June 29, 2008

Politicians Who 'Rock' Win

The US style of political campaigning and language is hyped up for the media, with an ear on the sound-bite - but it is the language that connects with people and for Obama it is working big time. Should our political leaders take a lesson from across the Pond?

"I've admired her as a leader. I've learned from her as a candidate," said Obama, during his Unity speech with Clinton. "She rocks, she rocks. That's the point I'm trying to make."

TV coverage of Cameron and Brown after Labour's Henley humiliation showed this. Cameron, in the street, looking fit and tanned, a well-cut suit and open shirt, his remarks were short, concise and listenable. 

Then Brown, ill-looking, saggy-jowelled: "By-elections come and by-elections go. I'm focussing on the global economy." 

So which one 'rocks'?

In the 1960's, the Kennedy-Nixon US presidential campaign debates were won by television. Nixon had the content but with the unshaven, hang-dog look, it was Kennedy who rocked! For the first time, this showed the power of television. TV favoured Kennedy. But those who listened on radio, favoured Nixon. 

In the early days, Bill Clinton rocked in the same style. A style copied by the political manipulators behind Blair, who was deliberately and intentionally positioned as a 'rocking' prime minister, complete with the guitar. It took ten years to wake up to the lies, deceit and spin behind Blair and the New Labour Project. It took just one year to wake up to Brown. 

Now, watching the death throes of the New Labour Project is like watching a sick dog die. You just want to put it out of its misery. And that doesn't rock.

The language is robotic and couched in NewLabourSpeak that no one understands. New Labour ministers are wheeled out, with the same old tired lines they've been told to say - blame everything on the global economy. And that doesn't rock with the public.

There's hope. And you don't have to be young to rock. 

Vincent Cable rocks. He can stand up in the commons and deliver the killer 'Stalin to Mr Bean' put down to Brown. When he speaks in a rowdy commons, everyone goes quiet - they listen to what he has to say! 

If you want to know what to do about the economy - ask Cable. He's head and shoulders above the rest in the popularity polls. He talks in simple language that people understand and they listen. He rocks. And so too does the popular William Hague. 

A remarkable lament by Labour back-bencher, John McDonnell, in the Guardian, asks how different it all could have been. Never has True Labour spoken out with such passion. A rallying call for the growing number of MPs thoroughly fed up with the New Labour Project. For those who believe in True Labour, that rocks. 

For better or worse, we have imported much of our style of politics from the US. 

Politicians who can connect with the people using plain, simple language will succeed in the future. That's another style from the US - the KISS - Keep It Short and Simple. We're learning.

The Conservatives have made the change from being the party that's 'electable' to the government-in-waiting. For them, that rocks. 

If the LibDems could only ditch Clegg - and go for the man who consistently tops the polls, they too would be in with a chance. 

Only a mixture of smug arrogance and self- interest is keeping the New Labour Project alive. No one listens anymore. That doesn't rock.

Picture: More than 70 million Americans tune in to watch the first ever TV presidential debate. Nixon and Kennedy, 1960

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