Tuesday, 17 May 2011
3 ways to restore Nicks popularity. One he should do, one he won't, one that will turn your stomach but would work overnight.
All Lib Dems probably take a few minutes every day to ponder how we might go about restoring Nick's (and thereafter, our own) popularity, and I'm no exception. He could of course take the excellent course of action suggested over at Jennie Rigg's blog - first class thinking and writing.
Alternatively he could take a leaf out of the Bruce Forsyth school of how to win over the crowd. To quote The Guardian
"Entering the arena to a cacophony of abuse, Brucie turns the catcalls into wild cheers within seconds. The band of the Royal Marines strikes up the theme to the Generation Game, Brucie hams it up by hammering a ball into the net, then mounts the podium and gets the Newcastle and Liverpool fans involved with that catchphrase."
Now I suspect Nick isn't going down route one, and it's unlikely he's going down route two ( though do watch the video link - it's hysterical). So may I suggest a third possible strategy.
There is a current world leader who has gone through exactly the same journey as Nick. Virtually unknown to the wider electorate before beginning his campaign, in a series of speeches and televised debates he rose dramatically in public opinion, leading his party back to majority leadership across all of the elected legislature, the first time this party had achieved such a feat for many decades. He was elected on a promise of a new politics, delivering a fairer and more equal society, and would govern using honesty and integrity as his watchwords. The electorate - indeed the whole world - feted him.
But in power he found things very difficult. He quickly found that promises he had made on the stump could not be delivered once in power and he was forced to renege on many, reverse some others, and water down the remainder. With the domestic economy also flat lining and unemployment rising, his approval levels sunk to near record lows. And just late last year local mid term elections saw the electorate punish this leader by voting out many of the elected officials from his party.
Yet today that same leader, some 6 months later, enjoys massive approval ratings and is now a nailed on favourite for re election. How did he do it?
Well, in a nut shell, he had Osama Bin Laden shot.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not for one minute suggesting that Nick whistles up the SAS and they try and find a terrorist to shoot. While I'm happy that OBL was finally found, I feel as uneasy as the next man about how the events of his shooting unfolded and occurred (especially if the next man is either The Archbishop of Canterbury or Paddy Ashdown).
However, what it does demonstrate is that apparently rock bottom ratings can be quickly turned around by a single event. The question is - what could do it for Nick?
May I suggest it's unlikely to be any of the things we hold dear, such as reform of The House of Lords, which I see is kicking off today. While we know the long term importance of such things, may I suggest they are not the grand gesture Nick needs. It's going to have to be something big, dramatic, radical, left field and very, very popular. And of course something we all believe in.
I've got my thinking cap on. All suggestions welcome.
Failing that. Nick, listen to Jennie.
Posted by Richard Morris at 09:34