Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Devaluing the Brand

David Cameron has warned Malcolm Rifkind not to "trash the brand" of the Conservative Party by criticising its past activities. Quite apart from the fact that Sir Malcolm has correctly identified the biggest millstone around the Tories' neck, Cameron's comments emphasise the huge weakness in the so-called "Notting Hill Set". What does it stand for? Not wearing a tie, having gay friends, and looking after your hair is not a political philosophy.

The attitude of treating the Conservative Party as a "brand" is indicative of the political class. No matter how easy it may be to try and apply marketing techniques to the political sphere, people do not think of their elected representatives as a product to be bought and sold. The likes of David Cameron may find it naive and touching, but the majority of the public still believe in Parliament as the bastion of democracy and a place for their views to be represented.

Until the Conservative Party realise they need to know what they stand for (and that what they have stood for in the past is unappealing to the people of Britain as matters stand) they will not get re-elected. Politics is not about just about slick advertising. Cameron must forget his background in PR and actually start working towards creating a positive policy.