Tuesday, August 08, 2006

How to catch your voter...

Many people who voted Labour feel let down by Blair and his Government. The local elections produced a poor result and opinion polls show falling support. Even the Party sent a message to him in voting on Walter Wolfgang to the NEC.

So what does Blair do. Go ? Question whether he needs to listen to the electorate and his own Party? Consider for an instant that the Iraq war and his cosying up to Bush is unpopular? Question policies that need the support of Tories to be passed?

Nope he goes brown nosing over to the States to Murdoch. He states left and right are no longer relevant and takes of open and closed . Blair never concedes he could be wrong. We just don't understand him . The message needs to be retuned so realise we are wrong and he is right.

The Independent today reports on the Party's latest way to reach voters. Nope it does not entail actually looking at policy but putting them into categories so they can be targeted. Ok, not that new. But it does show how the emphasis is still very much on spin . Oh and I love the categories :

Burdened Optimists - swing voters, high turnout; lower managerial jobs; often living in modern housing on the edge of large cities or towns. They focus on career and home, and are raising young families. Contact via internet, e-mail or text messages.
Asian Enterprise - strong for Labour, high turnout; well qualified, many from Asia; white collar, professionals, directors of small businesses. Issues: education, employment, equality, interest rates. Contact via internet, e-mail, text messages.
Coronation Street - strong for Labour, low turnout, own or rent small terraced houses and have low incomes with low-skilled jobs. Major beneficiaries of family benefits. Issues: child benefit and child trust funds. Contact via doorstep.
Industrial Grit - strong for Labour; own and live in older, large but unpretentious houses in industrial or former industrial/mining areas; blue collar occupations. School age children. Issues: low interest rates, tax credits. Contact via leaflets and direct mail shots.
Metro-multiculture - Labour supporters but low turnout; renters rather than buyers; low income; high percentage from black and minority ethnic communities. Issues: equality, community facilitie. Contact via leaflets.
Towerblock - low incomes; renters rather than buyers; often young parents with infants; use community facilities. Issues: financial help, child benefit and child trust funds. Contact through text messaging and newsletters left in community centres.
Low Horizons - young families living in social housing on the outskirts of big cities. Issues: financial help, regeneration, and community facilities. Contact via doorstep or local newspapers.
Rustbelt Resilience - live in established communities. Issues: crime and local environment, benefits for elderly and carers. Contact on the doorstep.
New Town Materialists - larger families, many with school-age children; live in ex-local authority housing. Aspirational with a strong emphasis on the family. Issues: stable interest rates, the economy, education, tax credits and childcare provision. Contact through e-mails and doorstep campaigning.

Interesting categories, very heterosexual and family orientated. I don't feel I fit in to any of them, but am quite happy with that :-)

Of course there has always been targeting and categories such as Mondeo Man . Of course there is a need to target and know your voters, but this reflects that their energy is still on presentation and not a rethink of policy. When there is very little between the policies of the two Parties it seems the tactics will be on style and spin.

Trouble is the public are more cynical than in 1997 about New Labour. None of this will be any good whilst the public see the Party as one of sleaze and policies continue business as usual.Its just more spin and presentation. Business as usual. Blair with his fingers in his ears ignoring the noises of discontent.
None of this will help if New Labour does not look at its policies and conduct in Government.