Posts By: PAMELA EDMOND

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Welcome to Cameron’s Big Society future

It might be light hearted, but Labour makes a serious point today in its attack on David Cameron’s “Big Society” with the launch of a viral video and its scary echoes of Thatcher’s Britain.

The video drives home what it really means when the Tories say “Big Society”, but are afraid to say that they want to cut and abandon a range of public services with their pick ‘n’ mix DIY services that mean no guarantees for patients, parents or communities.

Big society is about breaking down the NHS, breaking down local education authorities and taking apart public services and people’s lives along with it. That’s what they have always done and Cameron might be the shiny new face of Conservatives in the UK, but it is the same old Tories who do not believe in “big society”. It’s just paper thin like most of Cameron’s campaign of photoshopped airbrushing and oil slick marketing.

Cameron is as Jacob Weisberg, author of ‘The Bush Tragedy’ wrote in the Guardian today, “as buffed as a freshly washed car, and providing a similar kind of short-term uplift”.

“With Cameron’s Tories, ideas take second place to their marketing. The event is geared around his presentation of a Contract with Voters, which is printed out on a white board that Cameron signs with a flourish after his talk. Aside from being a rip-off of the Republicans’ 1994 Contract with America (also known as the Contract on America), these 16 promises are a remarkably thin effort. The hard tasks, like cutting wasteful government spending, building a greener economy and raising school standards, are left vague.” Cameron is after a contract on Britain.

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Why Twitter doesn’t matter at all (in this election)

At the beginning of the campaign we weren’t really sure, but by last night it was blindly clear. Twitter, and social media generally, in this election campaign do not matter – not in the wider scheme of things at least.

The blizzard of tweets last night, 154,342 in all (up on the second debate but down on the first) were in the main anti Cameron in nature– Tweetminister’s sentiment score had it as Clegg 3.13 (-0.5), Brown 2.99 (-0.15), Cameron 2.96 (-0.22) #leadersdebate.

Clegg was the clear winner on Twitter and on Facebook and Brown it appeared to be agreed had done better. It was Clegg one; Brown two; and Cameron three.

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Are some people in advertising really dumb (aka the case of Charlie Brooker + M&C Saatchi)?

I only just saw this, but now I have I have to ask the above question after it emerged that the Tories, ahem, second ad agency of the election M&C Saatchi asked Guardian writer, and the world’s second favourite *misanthrope, Charlie Brooker to appear in an ad.

This happened the other day, he tweeted about it and it has to be repeated due to the special interest we take around here regarding advertising and the election (did I miss a word out there?).

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Spectator takes a bite out of Nick Clegg. We laughed.

It is not often I would care to say this, but The Spectator has summed up Nick Clegg in so few words that it seems perfectly rude not to share them.This was shared in the office and we laughed. I don’t feel bad about that at all.

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Tory campaign "most inept… in living memory"

As the media attempts to canonise Nick Clegg, things are going from bad to worse for the Tories as Bell Pottinger chairman Peter Bingle calls the party’s election campaign the most inept in “living memory” in a leaked memo.

Can we stop a minute and take someone temperature? The Sunday Times went bonkers at the weekend (I mean literally) with its frothy front page headline “Nick Clegg nearly as popular as Winston Churchill”. One world war and one TV debate naturally being the exact same thing.

Worse than that it then confounded this piece of bad journalism by referring to this screamer again today saying that Clegg was in the “surprising position of having to talk down headlines that put his popularity on a par with Churchill” (without pointing out it was the culprit behind the headlines).

At the moment no one knows what the Lib Dem poll surge means. They today stand on 33% compared to the Tory’s 32% and Labour’s 26%, but the key question is will it last and translate to anything significant that will boost the party’s presence in the House of Commons much beyond its current 62 seats?

It appears likely that this figure will rise and it looks like it will hit the Tories hard. They are panicking and attacking Clegg (soft on crime/immigration et cetera) and warning that voting for the Lib Dems could keep Gordon Brown in power and the Tories out for a very long time.

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Will the TV leader debates change us?

Will it be historic? Will it be more than quips and point scoring? Millions are expected to tune in tonight and Twitter will light up as the three leaders prepare to debate on ITV in the first of the TV debates.

With audience predictions of between 12 and 20 million tonight could be a huge moment in British politics at a time when trust an enthusiasm for the process is at a low ebb.

The large audience could still turn it around for one party in what is the closest election for a generation. What is it going to mean for Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats? He is the unknown in here like Vince Cable in the debate of the chancellors.

David Cameron has been complaining about the strict rules imposed, which is as pointed out in The Guardian odd as his team helped draft them. He is after all our friend and wants to empower us all.

The Americans must wonder why we have waited so long to do this. They have had televised debates on air since 1976 ( a long gap between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960) giving us sound bites galore including the oft quoted riposte made by Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle.

The debate comes at a time in the campaign when the main political parties face what The Times called “a wall of public antipathy amid a tightening race”.

And it is a tight race. With every poll that comes the Tory lead appears to be slipping representing itself on the periodical table as an unstable political element that allows no concrete predictions.

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The politics of social media and CLTs (career limiting tweets)

I feel sympathy for Stuart MacLennan but his case shows that a lot people still do not get social media, and Twitter specifically, or seem to understand they are in the personal publishing business no different from a blog.

He isn’t the first social media casualty and he probably won’t be the last, he’s just the one who made the front pages in the same week that John Prescott urged supporters to engage in click fraud and a week after UKIP PPC Paul Wiffen was suspended after hitting out at a blog post highlighting the party’s immigration policy.

Who knows how MacLennan would have fared trying to take on the SNP’s Angus Robertson in Margaret Ewing’s old seat, but he showed he was the wrong candidate.

When I first heard it I did the same thing that Labour Party officials did. My reactions was: “he’s being held up for tweets that he wrote a year ago? That seems harsh”.

On reflection (and by reflection I mean reading his tweets) he had to go as he crossed the line. Some have bizarrely called for MacLennnan to be given a break with Rory Sutherland writing a piece on the Spectator site and tweeting “Reinstate the Moray One. Appalling Twittergate treatment of Lab candidate”.

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Asda wants its mums to blog the election

asda-mums-web-laptopSmart
move by Asda. It has taken its line about “Asda mums” and hopped onto
the election bandwagon. And why not? We’re told it is going to be the
Mumsnet election so what better place for the supermarket to be.

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Labour’s misfiring Quattro ad shows crowd sourcing limitations

Shocking as it is David Cameron has been shown in a positive light after Labour’s create your own ad competition gifted one to the Tories who were able to turn the depiction of their leader as 80s throwback DCI Gene Hunt on its head. Fair play to them.

The poster and the line are good. No doubt about it, but so was what the Tories were able to do with it. The original poster replaces DCI Gene Hunt’s head from ‘Ashes to Ashes’ with that of Cameron’s. You could on the surface see why it might work. Hunt first from the excellent ‘Life of Mars’ and then in the not so great ‘Ashes’ is a boozy male chauvinist pig with a flashy car from the decade of social conflict and deep divide.

But Hunt is also a cult figure with a nice repertoire of one liners that includes “Fire up the Quattro…”. The Tories were able to nicely adapt to read: “Fire up the Quattro, it’s time for change” to chime with their lame campaign slogan and instantly give Cameron the appeal that he appears to lack. That is the story being played out across the press in The Times, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph among many others.

Apparently Tories around central office have t-shirts and mugs with the slogan “Fire up the Quattro, it’s time for change” printed on them and Cameron has declared himself “flattered” to be compared to Hunt. You can see why. People like Hunt.

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