5 Rules for Westminster Elections

  1. Tell people why they shouldn’t vote for their favourite party: if you vote for X, you really get Y, so vote for Z, even though you want X.
  2. Deny that you would enter a coalition with any other party, even if you have no chance of being in government on your own.
  3. Promise to lower taxes and increase public spending. Or, only promise to tax rich people to pay for low paid public servants.
  4. Suggest that your opponents are making promises that they can’t afford, or making the campaign too personal, then make some of your own promises and keep it personal.
  5. If you are not campaigning, be cynical about the tactics of political parties, and suggest that all politicians are corrupt and unelectable. Give the impression that you are above it all, without suggesting a useful alternative to representative democracy.

I forgot number 6: object whenever a party agrees with an idea that you claim is yours. You don’t want their support; you want to exploit the fact that they don’t support you.

1 Comment

Filed under UK politics and policy

One response to “5 Rules for Westminster Elections

  1. Can I suggest 5 alternative rules?

    Answer any fair and reasonable political question as best you can. Criticise your opponent’s policies but mention areas of agreement and common ground. Give credit where it is due. Remember this in PMQs.

    Find good (true) things to say about your political opponents. Do not play the man rather than the ball. Remember this in PMQs.

    Acknowledge that your party cannot solve all the country’s problems. Your party will not be able to implement its full policy manifesto unless it obtains a clear majority. If your party does not get a clear majority, you will argue for some of its policies to be included in a Coalition programme. Inevitably some of the policies will not be included in the programme, and some policies that the party does not like will be included.

    Make it clear that a 5 year coalition government is a better alternative than a minority government, and that the alternative of precipitating another election within a few months is the political equivalent telling the electorate to ‘go away and get it right this time or I will …. burst into tears.’

    Accept that there is life after politics and you can do a better job for the electorate if you are prepared to walk away rather than compromise your basic principles. In a democracy the voters will occasionally get it wrong. That’s politics.

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