Coetzee’s “quiet bat people” moment shows need for a rethink on the manifesto.

Lib Dem Director of Strategy Ryan Coetzee fell into that trap of forgetting that the papers you are carrying are just one super-duper camera lens away from being photographed. And once photographed,  social media is just a few clicks away.

Remember that moment in the Thick of It where Nicola Murray’s Labour party were trying to get some ideas together. How would they refer to their target audience. “Quiet bat people” was one suggestion hastily noted down – and photographed as they left a meeting.

The same thing happened to Ryan Coetzee today. And from what I hear it was a genuine accident, so he’s bound to be mortified. Look what happened to him as he left a meeting.

There you have it (see, I know which form of there/their/they’re to use). Are our four priorities for the front page of the manifesto to be:

  • Balancing the budget
  • A further £400 tax cut
  • Faster and better mental health care
  • Each child to be taught by a qualified teacher

If those are the Big Four, thank heavens they have been leaked. I’m really glad.

Glad, why? Because, apart from the mental health, this just ain’t good enough and there’s time to sort it. Last time, we went with 4 really quite major things. Making the tax system fairer – quite a revolutionary change and we forget now how big a change it was, saving the planet, pumping money at disadvantaged kids in school and cleaning up politics.

All this makes Ryan’s 4 points for next time look timid and unambitious. We going to do half as much on income tax as we’ve done this time, we’re going to reverse some of Gove’s stupider ideas, and the balanced budget thing is just silly – a total hostage to fortune. We might end up in economic circumstances that require the state to do more. We have to have the aim, as it’s been passed by conference, but let’s not make it a deal breaker for goodness’ sake.

Where’s the planet saving, establishment busting stuff? Just because the forces of conservatism and vested interests kyboshed it this time round doesn’t mean we should stop shouting about it. We should be shouting 3 times louder.

And that’s not to mention that half of them only apply in England. Last time only one was exclusive to England.

The Federal Policy Committee needs to make it very clear to the leadership that we need some real sass in our manifesto. The Tories are trying to steal the tax threshold stuff, adding some extra baubles for their more affluent voters. Labour are trying to nick our Mansion Tax. If we ever needed some knockout outfits in the back of the wardrobe, it’s now. Remember the mistakes of 2007 in Scotland when our manifesto was communicated so poorly that all the journos went on about was us wanting to give kids an hour of PE a day.

What we’ve seen today is not good enough. We need to be bold, loud and sassy or we’ll get swamped. Get to it.

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About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
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3 Responses to Coetzee’s “quiet bat people” moment shows need for a rethink on the manifesto.

  1. duncanstott says:

    The tax policy ought to be there, politically. As well as it being a positive thing to do, we need to claim ownership of our record in government raising the personal allowance, and the promise of more is a nice way of highlighting that. We also are promising to pay for it by raising taxes on the rich, which puts clear water between the Tories who’ve tried to steal our spots, and also asks the question of how the Tories find the £12bn needed to pay for it.

    But yes, the deficit and education aren’t attention-grabbing enough for front-page commitments. We have a big, bold policy on building 300,000 homes per year which needs to be up there to outcompete Labour on housebuilding and drive this vital issue up the general election agenda.

    Like

  2. Robin says:

    And who could forget Caroline Flints see through briefs…..

    Like

  3. John says:

    And people wonder why Lib Dem popularity is at an all time low when idiots like Caron Lindsay are asking for more ‘planet-saving’ policies.

    Like

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