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Labour Party predicament: There is nothing so futile as having the right ideas and getting no attention

‘There is nothing so futile as having the right ideas and getting no attention’.  As David Blunkett and the other ‘oldies’ become vocal once again in an attempt to get the Labour Party’s message across, you might think that many of the party faithful would agree with the words of John Kenneth Galbraith, the renowned US economist.

Before I go any further, I wouldn’t want you to think I was suggesting Ed Miliband has the ‘right ideas’ – mostly because I’m not sure what his ideas are!  Now, I may have blinked and missed it, but what’s Labour all about these days?

Ok, Ed’s been on holiday, taking a break, so Blunkett has been drafted in to advise the youngsters and talk to the Today programme.  But Cameron is on his fourth summer break this year and the Conservatives still seem to be getting their message heard loud and clear.

In the good old bad old days, I knew where I stood with New Labour; like it or loath it, the message was clear.  But, as many of its own MPs are noting, the communication sat nav has lost its signal and they seem to be muddling through with an out-of-date road map someone’s picked up at their local car boot.  George Mudie (MP for Leeds East) says he has ‘difficulty knowing what we stand for.’  Good work on internal comms then!

Whilst John Prescott has called for under-performing members of the shadow cabinet to be given the ‘hairdryer treatment’ (he’s from the Alex Ferguson school of management), he did also note in his Sunday Mirror article that the Conservative Party had worked hard ‘to put together a planned communication grid of issues and activities’.  Yes, a good comms team is worth its weight!

As any good PR person knows, communicating an organisation’s core message is key.  There will be many different messages that need to be created along the way (zero-hours contracts; social housing; page 3; corporate tax avoidance; voting age), but behind all of these lies the big idea – the emotional core of who you are and what you stand for.  With a strong integrated core message, you stand apart from your competitors and attract clients/supporters with similar values and beliefs.

Perhaps the Labour Party’s communications people have gone inter-railing for the summer, or they’re on a gap year, but someone somewhere isn’t doing their job.

Come on, Ed! Recess is over.  Time for a strong and simple narrative to direct the political debate!  And if your team can’t manage it, find one that can.

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