Monday 16 March 2015

Setting expectations

The idea of political parties issuing ‘pledge cards’ at election time is not a new one.  The usual intention is to summarise in a short snappy way the key things which the party concerned would do if elected.  And the hardest part is usually getting it down to a short, clear list, since various people all want their pet issues included.
Looking at the Labour Party’s pledge card published over the weekend, it seems to me that they had the opposite problem.  Not so much ‘how do we get this lot down to five snappy pledges?’ as ‘how on earth do we make something worthwhile out of so little?’.  
It’s vague, imprecise, wishy-washy, generalised verbiage.  I’ve read it a few times, and I’m still struggling to see why they couldn’t have said it all in three points using five words:
1.    Motherhood
2.    Apple Pie
3.    Fewer Immigrants
I accept that I may be being a little generous to them on the third point – their actual pledge “Controls on Immigration” doesn’t necessarily mean fewer immigrants.  Actually it doesn’t mean anything at all, since there are controls at present; but I’ve read it the way that we’re obviously supposed to understand it without them having to spell it out.
Still, I suppose that setting low expectations minimises the chance that anyone will be surprised or disappointed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who reads pledge cards? Is it just an excercise in trying to set the agenda in teh press of what the party is about?

Of topic but in a way, relating to your headline of managing expectations. It's interesting to read that in the recent survey Wales has the highest respondents saying that we're underfunded. A perfect example of how the Labour WElsh Gov. have droned out a consistent message which has been taken on by the Welsh public. I'm not saying we are of aren't underfunded, relative to what I suppose is the question, but it suits the Welsh Gov's agenda for the electorate to believe we are, or at leats while there is a government of different colours in Westminster. Funny how the message only gained momentum in about 2010 isn't it? Althouhg it'll be interesting to see what is done if there is a Labour controlled Govt. in London after May.