The octopus really all he said was wi,wi and kiss a fish but never did he ever say forever the point of a frustrated and confused member of the social order, It appears to me that we are living In a society where stupidity easily fits Into a simple, three tier, hierarchical model. Where Darwin argued that species adapt, I would argue that–at least where “civilized” culture is concerned–humanitys intellectual evolution is rapidly decreasing, therefore allowing us as a whole to adapt to a culture where the art of thinking is becoming obsolete.
This author submits toyou that, due o technology and volumes of procedure protocol having been written for every Job imaginable, people have lost their ability to reason Intellectually and have essentially “dumbed down. ” This, my friends. Is the curious but sad truth of the matter. Therefore, I believe that stupidity can be reasonably fitted into the following three tier, hierarchical model. Jacques Seguela writes about political campaigns and communications not merely as an expert analyst, but as an experienced practitioner.
Hence his latest book contains both insights worth heeding, but also enlivening tales of his own experience. He Is observer and participant; outsider looking In, and Insider looking out. There Is much to look at, not least In France with a Presidential election looming, and the outcome far from easy to predict. We live in a world defined by the pace of change, and whilst the velocity of that change has not always impacted upon our political institutions, many of which would remain recognisable to figures of history, it most certainly has impacted upon political communications.
As Seguela writes: ‘En 5 ans le monde de la communication a plus evolue que dans les cents dernieres annees. ‘ Google, Youtube. Twitter, Facebook have quickly entered our language and changed the way we communicate, live our private lives, do business, do politics. People do not believe politicians as much as they once did. Nor do they believe the media. So who do we believe? We believe each other. The power and the political potential of social networks flows from that reality.
Though fiercely modern In their application, social networks In some ways take us back to the polltlcs of the village square. They are an electronic word of mouth on a sometimes global scale. This has changed the way people Interact with ach other and with their politicians. My first campaign as spokesman and strategist for Tony Blair was in 1997, three years in the planning after he had become leader of the Opposition Labour Party. Some of the principles of strategy we applied back then would certainly apply to a modern day election.
But their tactical execution almost certainly would not. Politicians and their strategists have to adapt to change as well as lead it. Seguela gives some interesting insights into those who have adapted well, and those who have done less well. He clearly adores former President Lula of Brazil and you can feel his yearning or a French leader who can somehow combine hard-headed strategy with human empathy In the same way as a man who left office with satisfaction ratings of 87percent. Seguela probably remains best known In political circles for his role aavlslng Francols Mltterrana.
Yet wneras I am trlDal Laoour, ana could not Imagine supporting a Conservative Party candidate in the I-JK, Seguela came out as a major supporter of Nicolas Sarkozy. I wonder if one of the reasons was not a frustration that large parts of the left in France remain eternally suspicious of modern ommunications techniques and styles which, frankly, no modern leader in a modern democracy can ignore. How he or she adapts to, or uses, them is up to them. But you cannot stand aside and imagine the world has not changed.
If Lula is a star of this book, so too is Barack Obama. American elections are of enormous interest to all political campaign Junkies, a category in which both Seguela and I would almost certainly qualify. Much is made of Obama’s use of the internet, a relatively new phenomenon in historical terms and one the young Senator used brilliantly in his quest to become President. Yet though it was an accurate expression of his modernity, underpinning its use were some very old-fashioned campaign principles.
He used it to turn supporters into activists who both gave funds and also took his campaign materials and ideas and ran their own campaigns for him. Somehow he managed to make one of the most professional, most disciplined and best funded campaigns in history look like an enormous act of democratic participation. It was less command and control – the model we certainly adopted in 1997 and 2001, Labour’s two landslide victories, easing off a little for our third win in 2005 – than inspire and empower. ‘ Yes we can’ not yes I can’.
His supporters were more than supporters. They were an active part of the campaign, and of the message. The key to this was something that had nothing to do with politicians and everything to do with science, technology and the internet. Ask me who has had the most influence on campaigns in recent times and I might be tempted to reply Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with gifting the web to the world. Its implications have been far reaching in virtually all aspects of our lives, politics and political campaigns foremost.
The new ousehold brand names of the cyber era have not replaced good policy work, messaging and organisation. But they have become essential components of the execution of them in the campaign. Mainstream conventional media remains important and influential, not least because, bizarrely, in most democracies the broadcasters continue to let the press set their agenda for them. But a candidate who tries to stand against the tide of new media will be making a big mistake, and missing big opportunities. If it has changed so much in the last five years, how much more will it change in the next five years?
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