Wednesday, 24 August 2016

TrainGate two - Choo choo.

Labour really miss Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson in their PR roles..
They used to have the very best. But these days, no one of any use at all..

The pink bus, possibly the most ill conceived political idea of the century, was actually topped by rushing round to have a Yoof Vlog with Russell Brand. Much too late in the cycle to have any impact that wasn't going to be negative.
Incredibly, even that disaster was bettered. By the Ed Stone. Which became the symbol of the whole, horrifically badly orchestrated Miliband election campaign.

Modern politicians need the best spinners, and the best image makers available.

Many years ago, my highly respected PR company girlfriend, came with me as I was doing the BBC's clothes show. 

{Who remembers that show? I did it 3 times! .. none of you remember it? It was the One Show of the 1990s.}
She had heard a radio bit I had done the week before and was very critical of it. Critical, but professional. She did the "This is you...This is what you want to convey. This is what you said..and why you sounded like a's how to avoid that in future." 

She really was very good. Headhunted by two top firms before she was 28. And she didn't start in PR until she was 25.
If this ex-girlfriend was advising Corbyn it would have gone.

- Why are we on this train? This is a long distance train. We don't want a train that has booked seats.
We want a commuter train. 
We want a Southern Trains commuter train. We might get lucky with a cancellation. 

Don't get on yet. Get an establishing shot. Show the packed platform. Film in tight. Get the staffers around you Jez. Tighter than that..Good. Look packed..

Hey? You!..Why are you filming this on an iphone? He wants to be the next Prime Minister. He's not uploading to Instagram for his mates like he's on the school bus? Get a proper camera..You don't have one? I'm sorry..who are you? You're the Comms chief ?..And you didn't think to bring a decent video camera?..Ok..I see its going to be a tough day.. train isn't packed..pull the plug now..what? You want to go on?

 These are ticket booked trains..this is going to come unstuck quite easily? Ok, if you insist.. 

..Then find the most packed carriage. Why are you sitting here? ..what's that you said..? "Sitting on the floor makes you look like you can't find a seat?" No..It makes you look like a beggar at a cash point. .. Don't put your legs look like you are hogging limited space..Don't pull your legs up - that look isn't for you. And take your jacket off. Its creasing and making deep shadows and looks untidy. And comb your hair..This is a film to explain some political point? Then try and reach out. The true believers don't care you look like a disillusioned teacher a week before retirement. You need to reach the ex-libs and the now going over to UKIP, former socialists.
Otherwise you might as well just send a tweet to the echo chamber.

Why are you sitting in front of the toilet? Your back is against the bog door. No one sits back against a door that might open. looks like you didn't realise. Or worse, don't care about others needs. Is that Private Eye you are pretending to read? Oh! you ARE reading it? You brought it along for the train journey..I see...well put it away. Get the Guardian..Who's got a copy of the Guardian among Team Jez, please? No One? Seamus Milne? You work fat the Guardian FFS! ,.You say... Its become a capitalist-imperialist-Blairite propaganda sheet? Mr Corbyn..This may be picked up by foreign media ...
Look..You're not reading Private Eye..Reading Private Eye is an invitation that gets you on the cover of Private Eye? Go down this "packed" train and get a Guardian or a Metro..or Angling Times. In fact ..forget that..Don't get anything..You are addressing the don't need any media..certainly not 'old media' Jeremy..You need to sort your legs out. You have them knees together and flopped into a corner. And this cretin is filming from above. You look like a Casualty actor, playing a disabled victim who's fallen from a wheelchair. 

Why are you still filming this on a phone? We can't hear what he says..He's on a moving train, in a corridor. And you are trying to get his words on a phone?

Jeremy..There is no such word as ram-packed..Its either Packed. .. Rammed... Jammed, or Jam-packed. Do it over.. 

Bend one knee up, put one leg half under you. Then rest..CASUALLY REST.. one arm on the knee..on the up knee Jez..Ok..Why are we filming this here. Either get in the bog and say this was the only seat and make a joke about Waterloo. Or film by the carriage door so over your shoulder the packed train interior is visible. Then you are standing up and don't look so homeless and tramp like. Spare £3.50p for a bottle of Virgin Trains Elder-flower, guv'nor?

You are concerned that diminishes the message, Mr Milne? What message is that?
The one that tells people  that trains are quite full?
 That since 1991 you have needed to book in advance for a journey? 
That the reserved seats empty after the first station?
That if you move along you may find an empty seat?
 And if you don't ask the train crew.

Everyone knows this already. This isn't news. It isn't policy. Its just a message of the bleedin' obvious.
If you want to show the merits of nationalisation, go on a nationalised, efficient train in Europe. If you want to show a bad service, go to London Bridge any Friday night. 

Then say
 "This is shite..we will fix it by doing XYZ and it will cost ABC and take PQR amount of time"  

..Right ..this is my stop. I'm off..oh..Milne..its really the end of the line for you too..Luckily you didn't give up the day long..chumps.."

Ahh, she was good. She was earning £60,000 when she was 28, back in the 1990s.  The following year she gave it all up to have a baby and quit for good. Never went back. Women in the workforce..
but that's a post for another day.

Choo-Choo - Silly Season continues.

I was reading the obituary of Sir Antony Jay, masterly creator of Yes, Minister this morning

It made me think this morning that the really challenge of any comedy is to make it funnier than real life, or at least appear so.

Following  Yes Minister we had 20 years later the brilliant The Thick of It - reflecting the coarsening tone of public discourse and also the hectic madness of a 24 hour news cycle.

But yesterday we have a brilliant show, one of the world's best PR experts in Richard Branson against one of the world's worst, in Jeremy Corbyn. For anyone else, pictures of him walking past empty seats to made a little film about packed trains would be a resigning issue - after all it suggests complete lack of judgement and nous.

Oddly though, his opponent is in fact we find a comedic character, Owen Smith, who is actually worse as a public performer than Corbyn. Not as bad, or so, but actually worse. For example today, he passionately said he is opposed to Brexit and will make Labour do everything possible to stop it. Then, having besmirched democracy he calls Jeremy Corbyn a lunatic whilst on stage.

I mean, FFS, how can you do this? How can you be so bad. Literally, a man off the street could put in a better performance than either of these two.

Jim Hacker is a titan by comparison.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Sadiq Khan Becoming a Major Player

... and Greens, LibDems ... anyone with a vote, really
Sadiq Khan has long been someone to watch.  Happy to play the Muslim card, but basically a pure power-player, very much open for business.  Voice of Labour In The Wilderness;  Top-Ranking Elected Labour Politician;  Friend of the City in Brexit Negotiations;  Deliverer of the Multi-Culti Vote; Kingmaker for Owen Smith ... - makes Corbyn look like the side-show pygmy he is.

Looks like it's Khan vs Momentum-McDonnell for control of the Labour Party.

If, as several of us have mused, a primary scenario for the fate of Labour is to become the Muslim Party of England, Khan is obviously in the mix for years to come.  They'd struggle to find a leader who could better minimise the electoral oblivion that would ensue.  A messy triple negative, I realise - but you probably see what I mean.


UPDATE - Will Sadiq Khan be the next Labour leader?  - well there's a thing!  

Friday, 19 August 2016

Things you really should not say out loud...weekend thread

"I will negotiate with ISIS" Owen Smith

"I won't go to War in honour of NATO Commitments" Jeremy Corbyn

These two are obviously playing a very funny summer game 'double-down' where you compete to say the most silly things and see if you can get away with it. It is like a political version of the world's dirtiest joke...

So - where do we go from here - what is your political double-down to join in the fun?

I will start with:

"We need to help more Syrian refugees - open borders are the only correct moral choice"