Monday, March 14, 2011

Time for the Liberal Democrats to stop looking like Tories

Having signed up to govern in coalition with the Conservatives for five years, the Liberal Democrats face the problem of maintaining a separate identity in the public eye. While making that coalition work, we have to make ourselves attractive enough and distinctive enough  to retain existing our supporters and gain new ones. Because in 2015 we shall have to fight an election as an independent party.

Given this need to differentiate ourselves from the Conservatives, why oh why did we choose a blue background for the platform at the Spring Conference in Sheffield?

The party high command will tell you that it is "aqua" but it looked like blue on the television news behind Nick Clegg's speech. If you are trying to convince the public that you are not a slightly paler version of the Tories, it does not make much sense to colour yourself that way.

Similarly, Max Atkinson (the man credited with turning Paddy Ashdown into a considerable orator) has questioned Nick's fondness for the apparently unscripted, walkabout style that David Cameron adopted in his early years as Conservative leader:
If you want to assert how different you are from someone else, why on earth would you copy that person’s distinctive (for a British politician) style of delivery? Why would you do it if you aren’t as good at it as him? And why would you do it when even Cameron has increasingly given it up in favour of looking more ‘statesmanlike’ at a lectern?
This post was written 18 months ago, but Nick was still using that style in Sheffield.


John Minard said...

How about a nice D66 light green? Ahh, spoilt by Gadaffi - I can just see the Daily Mail headline now. So back to basics then, the old tribal colour of orange, but ahh, I can just see the Guardian headlines about takeover by the Orange Bookers.

It's a lose, lose situation!

I do like this historic image though

Anonymous said...

Surely if "Cameron has increasingly given it up", the last thing we want is for Nick to copy him again.

Radders said...

Nick did use a lectern at the last autumn conference.
And used the lectern as a prop to lean against during his "town hall" Q&A session in Sheffield.

Frank Little said...

The current house-style was devised well before the days of coalition, but I agree that it is time to change it. Perhaps we should reclaim the red background used by North Wales Liberals in the days of Lady Megan Lloyd George.

Joe Otten said...

Didn't Nick do the unscripted walkabout style first? Not that this matters if people aren't aware.