Thursday, 18 February 2010

The failure of the mass movement

Okay, no, this is not about China, at least not about anything which is happening in China at the moment. In fact it's about conservative political movements in the west. In 2008 Barack Obama swept to power at the head of a grass-roots political movement in which much of the most effective content was generated by the participants themselves. Ever since then right-of-centre groups have been trying to get in on the act, but, speaking as a confirmed Thatcherite, I really wish they wouldn't.

The problem is that by their very nature right-of-centre parties do not come to power with genuinely radical plans for change. Even the most revolutionary of British political movements of the past 50 years - the Thatcher government - did not come in in 1979 with grand plans for change and only started to implement large-scale reform after the 1983 election. In most eras and at most times, Conservative parties promise a break from the legislative and political turbulence offered by left-of-centre parties. It is therefore difficult for a right-wing party to attract the kind of head of steam that a left-wing party can, and instead the content of the campaign is likely to be generated by the party faithful, a group seperate and apart from the mass of the population which the party wishes to attract.

The result is that instead of "Change we can believe in" we get mush which is likely to make people more likely to favour the opposition, not less. Here's an example:

The other posters aren't much better.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Just 'cause

Amazing footage shot by an enthusiast of a cross-wind landing at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport shortly before it was closed down and replaced by the new (and far less heart-attack-inducing to land at) Chep Lap Kok airport -