Thursday, 5 December 2013

Time to drop the "One Nation"?

Somebody needs to tell Ed Miliband that his "One Nation" slogan doesn't work.  It's not awful; it doesn't offend.  It just doesn't work.  In that sense it's a bit like "the big society".  It's quite a clever piece of political wordplay, that pleases or annoys those who are very interested in political ideas. It doesn't convey much meaning to most people.

I couldn't stand New Labour.  I hated what it signified.  But it did signify something. People heard "New Labour" or "New Labour, New Britain" and took some sort of meaning from it, whether they liked it or not.  I watched Labour's viral video about Osborne's pre-budget statement and thought that it was pretty good.  The shoe-horning of "One Nation" into it added nothing, though.  The worry is whether it subtracted something.  There's a clear line of attack for Labour here.  A recovery for who?  Just for the rich!  But it's not quite a "one nation" line of attack.

A party doesn't necessarily need a defining idea crystalized into a two-word slogan to win an election.  But there's an argument to suggest that not having one is better than having an ineffective one; one that lacks clarity.

I don't think it needs any fanfare.  Nobody need make a fuss.  I just think between now and the election we should slowly hear "One Nation" less and less until we don't hear it any more.  I'm not sure how many people would notice.

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