Let’s take it as read that the Telegraph report that we are rebranding, including a root and branch look at the party’s name, identity and positioning is wide of the mark. In an age of austerity when we can’t afford to fund the Barnsley Central election campaign, it’s unlikely the very sensible Chris Fox will be throwing cash at that particular issue.
(Thanks to all the trade mags and friends who’ve called me to ask if I’m doing it. I’m not. Though with due deference to my business partner Franco who designed the original logo when he was at Fitch – I wish we could shoot that bird)…
But anyway, I really hope – and I’d be amazed if it wasn’t the case – that we are constantly reviewing the positioning and the strategic approach of the party. Being as even handed as I can here, (so this is not all good), we’ve gone from…
A party of opposition to a party of government
A party of protest vote to a vote for power
A party of trust to a party of distrust
A party perceived to be on the left to a party more perceived to be in the centre.
A party of principle (or radicalism) to a party of compromise
A party strong in the past to a party strong in the present
A party who a quarter of the population intend to support to one around 10% of people can imagine voting for.
A party with the most admired leader in the country to one with the most detested - or not (depending on which week it is)
In other words – we’re in a completely different position now than we were almost exactly one year ago today – when the general election was called.
Since then we’ve done a lot of things we’re all very proud of, a few things through gritted teeth, a lot of things we’d like to get credit for but we don’t, quite a few things we’d rather not have the credit for and it’s been pinned on us anyway. So how nuts would be if we were thinking that come the next election, the electorate will view us in the same way as in May 2010.
I hope that there are meetings going on every day to discuss how our distinctive political philosophy can be applied to new, radical policy initiatives that will keep us at the forefront of political thinking.
And when we have that in place, we’ll need a brilliant strategy that
a) gets people to actually listen to our message – because at the moment they don’t want to hear it and
b) gets people to trust us again and get excited about what we’re going to do.
It’s a long road back from 10% in the polls. But the fightback really does need to start now.