Keith Holyoake used to say “tell the people, trust the people”; be honest about the benefits, trade-offs, and costs of policies and trust the people to judge you in an adult manner. Central to Brand Key, however, is playing to voters’ baser desires, especially greed, and fomenting juvenile beliefs, including that it is possible to have ones cake and eat it. For instance, National would have you believe:
A responsible party has to argue for balancing priorities; for making the necessary sacrifices (eg tax) to gain good outcomes (public services). It’s not sexy but it’s reality. It asks people to consider government as adults; National wants them to behave like children and believe in magic.
They think they can get away with it because, as Key claims, ‘the public can’t grasp … very complex things’. I have greater faith in people. They will see through the trick.
[a useful side-effect for National of this strategy is that it lowers the sophisication of political debate to the point where media compare parties, like they are pepsi and coke, and only ask which is on special this week]