...a blog by Richard Flowers

Monday, January 08, 2007

Day 2195: Get a Grip, Sir Mr the Merciless!


Is January REALLY the best time for questions of leadership?

Apparently, the week after Christmas sees a SURGE in people looking to get a DIVORCE and I suspect that there are the same reasons behind these things. The year is all cold and dark, there are no more presents to look forward to and everyone is suffering from the Christmas hangover (even if they AREN’T Mr Charles!).

No wonder we start to hear wailing voices saying that we’re all going down with the TITANIC!

Well, we AREN’T on the Titanic. Unfortunately, we are more like a DINGY and we’re in danger of being swamped by the Conservatory SUPER TANKER as Mr Balloon tries to swing it around without going onto the rocks!

Mr Balloon is riding high at the moment – not nearly so high as HE thinks, of course, and compared to the young Lord Blairimort he looks really rather limp – but he’s caught all the favourable publicity winds and left us in the doldrums.

Getting publicity has ALWAYS been difficult for the third party.

It is why we started printing Focus leaflets in the first place! If the media won’t cover you, cover yourself – it could almost be a motto for Lib Dem Bloggers!

To be fair we have been getting BETTER at it – lots of times we have managed to get Mr Clogg onto the The Today Programme with a new initiative, or Sir Mr the Merciless himself whenever the article is introduced with those words: “we asked a government minister to come and explain the latest disaster in Iraq but they declined…”

But we need to work much harder at it.

Far too often, a programme like Any Questions on the radio will have a government minister, a Conservatory spokesrobot and someone from a right-wing newspaper and a commentator from Thoughtless for the Day… so that would be four Conservatories then.

We have to stop letting the Conservatories dictate the agenda – or worse, use OUR agenda and pretend that it’s THEIR idea.

The big test this year will be the devolved elections in Scotland and Wales and local elections in the big shires of England. That sounds like it might be good news for Mr Balloon – he should be fighting on his last remaining bits of “natural Conservatory territory”, but also it should be HARDER for him to do better there.

Last year we had a TERRIBLE first few months and STILL managed to hold our own in the locals. But we LOST the battle of the SPIN, allowing Mr Balloon and the Conservatories paint it as though we have lost ground – we didn’t, we held on and we BEAT the Labour in the poll!

In fact, if it hadn’t been for the Minister for Magical Accidents casting his fairy spell over the tabloids Mr Balloon might well have done a LOT WORSE.

Remember that when you go out campaigning!

It might be January, but do not start thinking NEGATIVE thoughts just because of the long winter nights and there being no new Doctor Who to protect us from “Reheating the Dead” and “Go, Go, Judge John Deed”!

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