Getting the message out

The Prime Minister called the General Election of May 6th on April 6th which gives only 4 weeks plus a few days to get our message out.

Major parties and even smaller parties have the advantage of having established routes to the electorate, including broadcasts on national television, articles in national newspapers, a large budget for the national campaign (up to £19 million). They have all the paraphernalia of politics. But for the local election campaign, we are only allowed to spend about £10,000.

Let's leave debating whether that budget is right for after the election. It's what we can use on the local election, and that's it. So we can make no attempt to get a complex message out. It has to be a simple headline, which we can use safe in the knowledge that we have done the detailed homework to support the headline, to use when anyone questions the detail.

Our negative message is out. It is: 'Theresa is useless'. From conversations that I have had, I think that message has the Conservatives a bit worried.

But it's the positive message that is really important, and I think that message is 'Simplicity in Government'. The people who run the political parties, the civil service and all the support organisations have got things so complex that while they may understand their own bit of the legislation, nobody, and especially the general electorate, comes near to understanding the way that the complexity of legislation enables the established powers to maintain their positions and how that affects their lives.

Which are the best examples of how complexity affects people? Here are some choices:

  • Policemen filling in forms instead of being out on the beat
  • The tax book being the largest in the world.
  • A social security system that is so complex that only specialists in making claims really understand it
  • Human rights legislation that protects the guilty and damages the victim- so complex that the ordinary man has to employ solicitors to interpret it for them in order to safeguard themselves.
  • Legislation that prevents ordinary people helping others without fear of claims against themselves.
  • Complex compromise of property rights.
  • Environmental legislation that prevents people coming together to improve their towns and villages without massive costs.

I have not even scratched the surface.

So we can build on that and under the banner of simplicity ask people what issues affect them. But we have to get out to do it, and arrange some hustings. I am off to ask some questions now.


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