Home > Uncategorized > History Will Be Kind To Us For We Will Write It! #Clegginar

History Will Be Kind To Us For We Will Write It! #Clegginar


So Clegg didn’t paraphrase Churchill in the #Clegginar but it would have been good if he had.

There were so many good questions that I can only summarize the best before getting on to the meat of this post which was my question.

Stephen Tall of Lib Dem Voice asked about the Pupil Premium and social mobility. Nick told us that he was going to do a speech on Monday on education and how we can best use the pupil premium and other potential methods we could use to give people from disadvantaged backgrounds the same kind of chance to succeed as those from better off backgrounds.

Alex White of Liberal Youth asked about how we connect with young people. Nick simply answered by talking to them on issues that matter to them.

Callum Leslie asked about the snooping charter. Nick said it was important that we get the principles behind the #ccdd right. He also seemed not to get why us as members were so against it. Jonathan Calder & Zoe O’Connell being two of the many bloggers campaigning against this breach in our civil liberties.

I want to deal with Tracy Connell’s question with mine because they touch on the same point.

My question was in typical communication fashion cut short. The full question was:

Is our strategy of keeping our heads down and getting on with it working? Why don’t we and our comms team go out, make history and get the papers to write about it. To quote Churchill “History will be kind to me for I will write it” Our problem seems to be to let everyone else write it for us.

Yes, badly phrased, I know. Helen Duffet, Head of Internal Comms chose the bit which was phrased the worst and asked Nick this bit:

Why don’t we and our comms team go out, make history and get the papers to write about it.

That is very badly worded. I hate my phrasing sometimes.

Even though it was badly phrased, Nick’s answer was bad. There was an element in there that was good but the overall message was bad. The good element of the answer was using social media and the internet including things like webinars and bypass conventional media because they hate us. Yes, papers on the left and the right hate us but its not a case of “Haters are gonna hate” and lets not bother about them. Lets just keep our head down and get on with the job and prove ourselves which was the message in Tracy Connell’s question about local vs national politics.

Its also not about “shouting louder” which was Clegg’s last words in response to my question. Its about shouting better or better yet communicating better without the shouting.

Its about acting in a way and communicating in a way that the papers on the left and right can only come up with praise. Matthew Gibson over at Solution Focused Politics has an In Praise of … Series, praising papers who find strengths in the LibDems.

History is never kind to those who keep their head down and get on with the job in hand. History is kind to those who go out and write history and make papers, broadcasters, bloggers like them.

Zuckerberg was hated in Uni for facemash but then he wrote history in creating the biggest social networking sites ever. Yes, facebook has issues over privacy & Zuckerberg is written up horribly by some people but that will be a sidenote in history. You’ll see that throughout history.

It may well be that Clegg and our time in government will be seen a century down the line as the guys who did the right thing in despite media pressure but don’t count on it.

We need to be clever in how we deal with the Tories, we need to be clever in how we deal with Labour and we need to be clever in how we communicate that in whatever medium we choose.

Saying “Tell Labour they are liars” even in a LibDem only environment is not the way to communicate, if we ever want to gain a majority.

I’ve learnt in my brief time in this life that sometimes calling a “spade, a spade” is not the most effective way of communicating.

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  1. Mick Taylor
    May 10, 2012 at 21:37

    Were you listening to the same webinar as I was?

    Labour are liars and telling people they are is the right strategy. In fact, one of the best results I ever achieved was on the back of a Labour leaflet filled with both deliberate untruths and careless falsehoods. We responded with a leaflet that used the words you’ve read the Labour lies Now read the truth four or five times. Labour were taken to task on the doorsteps and in the ballot box.

    Our best result last week was in a ward we lost by over 600 votes in 2011 and won by 140 this time. We did this by unremitting attacks on Labour, and by exposing the truth about the Labour candidate, as well as explaining what our councillor – then leader of the Council – had done for the area.

    Secondly, Clegg was very clear about the approach of our ministers to the issue of data collection. He was clear that he wouldn’t support an attack on civil liberties and that the issue wasn’t one of setting up a huge centralised database, but making sure we can tackle terrorism and criminal gangs by selective use of mobile and web based traffic. He also made it clear that there was going to be extensive pre-legislative scrutiny – probably by a joint committee of the Commons and Lords – and that he wanted and expected Liberty and others concerned about Civil Liberties to be there to make the case. What more do you want? Surrender to organised crime and terrorists? The public want action taken to put dangerous people behind bars. Our role – as Clegg made clear – is to make sure any extension of surveilance is proportionate and protects normal decent people, who are not criminals or terrorists..

    • May 10, 2012 at 22:53

      Mick, I was watching the same webinar, we just have different perspectives.

      Re the Labour are liars, yes they are and we do need to expose it but it matters how you do it. Tell a hard and fast labour voter that the party they support and believe in are a bunch of liars and hypocrites straight up, they will go on the defensive, start attacking you and will be less likely to vote for you. To a lot of other voters if not done in the right way at the right time makes you look pathetic, which again isn’t a vote winner.

      Psychology matters, thats why getting canvass data so you can target literature in order to get a better response is far more effective than a blanket leaflet drop to all voters with varying political persuasions and biases.

      Attacking Labour is not a bad thing but it matters how you do it because you want the right perception at the other end so that people go out and vote for you. Putting good things in about your councillor would have had a significant impact as well. I don’t know how the leaflets were designed or written to the 740 voters that made the difference but you clearly hit those buttons that made people go out and vote for the LibDems.

      On the snooping charter, I still don’t think he gets it. The issue for me isn’t the non-existence of a central database but the fact that ISPs are going to be asked to collect data that they don’t need for their business purpose – that is indeed where our policy stands. At the moment, what I’ve heard of the proposals and nothing Nick said today assured me that this wasn’t going to go against LibDem policy. I’m happy there will be pre-legislative scrutiny but I don’t think Nick gets what I & other LibDems are against nor understands the technological limitations.
      The criminals and terrorist argument is cringeworthy and pathetic. A tough liberal stance on this is what the people want as well as making sure we lock up the bad guys.

  1. May 10, 2012 at 22:02

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