Recently, I did a post on how Labour should be focused on creating an over-arching narrative that embodies its broad set of policies. This should make Labour’s vision loud and clear in election year.
While Labour continues to rebuild policy, I have a number of ideas on how Labour could best deliver a new narrative once its policies are in place. The first is through consistency:
Labour’s narrative ought to be consistently enforced in the House, with media and in MPs’ electorates. This is something Labour didn’t do well in 2010. For example, Labour MPs routinely delivered mixed-messages on their assessment of the government, with some MPs saying John Key and National had ‘no plan for NZ’ and others saying they were causing great harm.
For the public, this is an ambiguous message: Is National doing nothing in government, or are they doing too much?
In contrast, since 2007 National MPs have been very consistent with a number of themes, which have included that:
These points may all be bullshit, but the narrative is clear: strong, aspirational and common-sense government.
The strength of this narrative is that it encompasses a broad range of expectations set by the public, which makes it hard for typical voters to not support what National appears to stand for because almost every voter will strongly like at least one of the above principles.
One of Labour’s problems is that they pursue small pockets of supporters who feel strongly about the GST rate and other highly specific policy matters. The problem with this is that very few people line up behind the same two specific policy matters, which makes it impossible for Labour to inspire the public en masse.
As we know from history, Labour’s core principles are inspiring when articulated. It’s these core principles that Labour must begin articulating with consistency because its very difficult to motivate people when you’re only voicing your policies and not your principles.
In other words, the public should have a picture of Labour but shouldn’t be expected to have to join the dots on their own.