Posts Tagged ‘12 rules of opposition’

The twelve rules of opposition: day 12

05/01/2012, 01:30:48 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Rule 12 Understand how a mirror works

And so as the twelve days of Christmas finally end, we come to the last rule of opposition. Unlike the others, this is not about the presentation of policy, improving the leader’s image, tactics against the government or party management.

It’s not about any of the conventional areas of political action.

Instead, it’s to do with honesty. Specifically the leader being honest about what they see when they look in the mirror.

A stroll down the high street of any British town after eight in the evening on a Saturday night reveals a strange phenomenon.

Most men and women out and about at this time don’t understand how a mirror works. (more…)

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The twelve rules of opposition: day 11

04/01/2012, 01:00:54 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Rule 11 – What gets measured gets managed

Labour’s favourite pearly peer, Maurice Glasman, popped up last week with his latest sage intervention. This time he was attacking the monopoly of Oxbridge graduates at the top of British politics.

Ignoring, for a moment, the alma mater of Ed Miliband, the man who saw fit to enoble Lord Glasman, and the piquancy of a peer of the realm railing against elitism, he nearly had a point.

Glasman was right to identify an issue with the background of the current crop of political leaders, but an Oxbridge education is not it.

My Uncut colleague Rob Marchant put his finger on it when he tweeted that the real problem was that so many them had never had a proper job.

There’s nothing wrong with having only worked in the Westminster village per se. Many politicos work extremely hard and achieve great things.

Few can doubt Ed Balls’ pivotal role in ensuring that Labour did not enter the euro, which, in hindsight was one of the party’s most valuable legacies from government.

But life as a journalist or political adviser has its limits if the ultimate destination is Parliament.

This new caste of politicians has become increasingly proficient in the Westminster game of snakes and ladders, at the cost of broader experience. The specialised gene pool from which they are drawn has led to professional inbreeding.


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Atul’s twelve days of opposition: day six.

30/12/2011, 02:00:21 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Rule Six: Use the leader’s life to show their  human side

“Show don’t tell’ is normally advice for fiction writers. It involves minimising the exposition and letting readers or viewers experience the story through the character’s thoughts and actions.

Increasingly, it also applies to politics.

Not because political campaigns are works of fiction, not entirely at least. But as the spotlight at each election shines ever brighter on the leader, each party has a story to tell about why their man or woman understands the needs of the country.

Politicians talk about this incessantly, but there is little as persuasive as showing rather than telling. If a leader has a similar background, has gone through comparable experiences and tackled the same challenges as the typical voter, then these actions speak a lot louder than words.

For a prime minister who has the gravitas of office as well as the ability to make decisions that impact people, their personal narrative become less important the longer they are in office. Their “show don’t tell” comes from the choices they make in government.

But for an opposition leader, who has no means to affect people’s lives, and who will likely be largely unknown to voters, the detail of their personal story is critical.

Rule six entails showcasing the opposition leader’s own story in a way that builds a connection with voters and tackles the negatives that are barriers to future office.

It doesn’t matter if they have had a deeply unremarkable past. It doesn’t even matter if their lives are run through with gilded privilege, voters will be interested and use their impressions of the leader’s home life in determining their choice for prime minister.


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