If political parties were people….
Funnily enough this sort of thinking is used all the time in business and to a lesser extent in political circles as core voters are analysed and deciphered.
It set me to thinking after reading a blog post on Labour hame, of which I am an intermittent visitor. http://www.labourhame.com/archives/3316#more-3316
Where a musing was made about the new tory logo and whether Scottish Labour needed a makeover of its symbol. I’m not convinced it does but it did set me off on a musing of my own. If we are asked to imagine the parties as people how would they look. I am as always prepared to be wrong.
So here goes….
Scottish Labour – A middle years woman with a grown up (and growing up) family. A bit frumpy at times. Sensible and weighed down by responsibility to family. Steady and at the centre of her family. Good sense though not particularly over educated.
SNP – A sharp businessman, with a drive to get what he wants. Competent and professional. Cold and wanting control. Thinks he knows best.
Scottish conservatives – Older, well-to-do, sensible man who exudes calm and resists change, paternal and condescending. Grey and a bit round the middle.
Scottish Liberal Democrats – A middle years teacher who’s involved with local fetes and the like, a bit grey and a bit well-meaning. Very earnest and middle class. Well thought off in general. Not too dynamic. Probably a bloke (not quite in a tank top).
Now if these are people as brands then we can see why the SNP have managed a good fit to theirs. Emphasis on competence and drive, pugnacious and control focussed. One issue and driving for it.
It seems to have worked when we consider that polling data suggests they do well among men of 25-45. They are honed in on many of their frustrations about lack of control of their lives. Their ‘take control’, ‘poor downtrodden us’ ‘all their fault’ mantra resonates with this group across all economic sections (or decile if you will).
Scottish Labour on the other hand are attractive to women with families and those of a sensible, more cautious vent. Older people poll better for anti-independence, as do women with families. Labour it seems has become like its supporters and has focussed much of its attacks on the SNP Government on uncertainty, dishonesty and trust. Going further to ensure arrogance and sharp, smug FMQ responses allow Alex Salmond to keep turning off these groups. It is working.
The Scottish Conservatives are struggling in the hangover of Toxic Thatcher brand. They have found it difficult to move on from this as few will give them a fair hearing. This has been ingrained as an Anti-English / Tory message from the SNP and to a lesser extent Labour. The current Tory PM, stinks of privilege and is a reinforcer of this viewpoint. Etonians telling us poor wee scots whats good for us. Even with a new badge and a female leader, it’s a long, long road back to influence let alone power.
Scotland is conservative with a small ‘c’ and currently rejects the Conservatives with a large ‘C’.
As for the Libdems, the coalition with the Tories at westminster has blotted their copybook and exposed their compromising (over principle) as a weakness not a pragmatic virtue. It has exposed them to ‘yellow Tories’ tags and ‘untrustworthy collaborators’ as labels. Both are unfair but mud most certainly sticks leaving the Scottish Libdems in a mess. Unsure of how to retain their core voters after own goals (VAT, tuition fees, coalition, cuts, welfare reform) and a relentless assault from the Scottish press. Now viewed as worse than Tories by some. As for fit with their brand person the teacher is falling out of popularity with his groups and while he can attempt to justify his positions, he’s less well-respected at the moment.
Do the leaders reflect their Brands?
Johann Lamont – fairly well reflects the brand person (she is an education professional however).
Alex Salmond – For the last 25 years the face of the SNP – the brand person and he are almost inseparable, but he is getting on a bit looking bloated and tiring (lots of younger MSP’s to fill the brand mould however). Nicola Sturgeon is a good female fit for the brand too.
Ruth Davidson – doesn’t fit well at all (although Annabel Goldie did). She is struggling to change the brand and will not make it fit better in the short to medium term.
Willie Rennie – Pretty much reflecting the brand person. Sensible contributions but not dynamic nor able to shake off the ‘Coalition damage’.
Now I wholly appreciate that some of the language used above reflects my inner dislike of the SNP, the Tories and, to a lesser extent, the Libdems. I am biassed, as are we all, but I think I have captured the essence of the brands.
Sadly, I think that Scottish Labour have a bigger problem in attracting other groups of voters (seen as a little old-fashioned) especially the young.
Whatever happened to the red flag singing socialists? Well they grew up, had families and bills to pay. Responsible adults can still be radicals, a message that has been lost in the (Scottish Labour) brand. If Labour is a middle-aged woman then its time to tell the youngsters about the demonstrations, placard wielding, CND supporting, bra-burning protesting times of our youth and be a newly discovered cool, role model to emulate.
Brands are more than a symbol, they add value. It’s time Scottish Labour started to use it.