Tag Archives: better together

Two things about the EU campaign that strike fear into my heart

There are two things that scare the living daylights out of me about the two EU referendum campaign in general and the pro-EU campaign in particular.

The first is that I just wonder where on earth the women are. Jenny Jones and Kate Hoey are active on the Leave side but we hear more from the men and the campaign seems to be being run by men.

The pro-EU side will be led by Stuart Rose, Conservative peer and former head of Marks and Spencer. Will Straw and Ryan Coetzee are involved on a staff level. Laura Sandys from the European Movement will obviously be involved as well but the voices in favour are almost relentlessly male.

The problem is that that can lead to hideous mistakes being made. Like this horror from the Better Together campaign last year. I never thought I’d see the “Have you got the guts to vote SDP?” campaign beaten but this is truly one of the worst campaign adverts I have ever seen. It was Rosie Barnes and her rabbits without the political intelligence. Watch and cringe.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 50 Comments

Conference Countdown 2015: How to learn lessons and not blow the EU referendum

In the run-up to Autumn Conference in Bournemouth, we’ll be looking ahead to examine the highlights in the debating hall, the fringe and training rooms. You can find the papers here. You can find all the posts in the series here.

Willie Rennie has finally written a frank and fascinating assessment of the flaws in the Better Together campaign. He draws a number of important conclusions which need to be learned if the EU referendum is not going to fall foul of the pitfalls that beset not only Better Together but in starker and disastrous form the incompetent Yes To AV campaign in 2011. All the articles are well worth a read.

Posted in Conference, Events and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 23 Comments

Better Together can always make a better ad. Alex Salmond can not give us a better currency option than we have being part of the UK

20 pound note. Photo courtesy of steved_np3 on Sxx.huWhat’s the last thing you would want to happen on postal voters’ polling day? How about your own side putting out a broadcast that is beyond terrible? Better Together’s latest effort, showing a woman’s two minute clumsy, contrived monologue as she makes up her mind to vote No. It was Rosie Barnes and her rabbit without the political intelligence.

I’m willing to accept that I may not be its target audience. After all, I am a thoroughly committed No voter and this will have been aimed at undecided women in the largely Labour voting central belt of Scotland. I’m not sure I’m meant to absolutely hate it as much as I do, though. There are ways of appealing to a segment of the population without really annoying a similar group of people.

Calling a broadcast “The woman who made her mind up” as if this was some flight of fancy is the first major error and it doesn’t get much better.  That it was shared more on social media by Yes campaigners than pro UK supporters tells its own story. They have made hay, contributing to a #patronisingbtlady thread on Twitter which, to be honest is just as patronising and sexist as the original broadcast.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 42 Comments

Opinion: Better Together should agree to a third independence referendum debate

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TIt appears that despite lengthy discussions between Sky news and the Yes and No campaigns there will now be no third televised debate between the two campaigns.

According to the Sunday Times:

A spokesman for Better Together said: “We made it clear right from the start that all television debates would have to be done before the first postal votes start to go out.

There are only two weeks now before around 1m people who are registered for postal votes start to receive their voting forms.

It’s only right that the debates between the leaders of the Yes and No campaigns have all been seen by then. If Mr Salmond had not spent so much time trying to delay both the STV and BBC debates, other bids could have been accommodated.”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Better Together lets some of Willie’s “sunshine strategy” burst through

Better Together, the cross-party campaign for retaining the United Kingdom, must have been listening to LDV’s co-editor, Caron Lindsay (always a sensible precaution, we find…). Just a few weeks ago she cautioned against the deluge of negativity that seemed to be the No campaign’s main message:

Charles Kennedy was bang on last week when he said that the pro-UK campaign needed to be more positive. He could do with being a bit more explicit about what he thinks they should be saying. And then he needs to sit Alistairs Darling and Carmichael, Danny, Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader and Nick down and tell them. For the sake of the UK, they need to listen. Better Together is in desperate need of an injection of wit and warmth and not much time to do it in.

Here, then, is the new Better Together advert. Maybe not much wit, but a whole lot more warmth:

better together ad

Posted in Scotland | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

Danny Alexander writes… Direct community engagement on Scotland’s future

TGOC 2011: NW Highlands (gp027)When Russell Johnston, that stalwart of liberal democracy, first ran for parliament for Inverness in 1964 he made a point of holding public meetings across the constituency. And when I first met him, in the 1980s, he was still following that old tradition – small gatherings, inviting all-comers to engage in open debate, determined that he could persuade the communities he served so energetically to follow him on the best path for the Highlands.

Over the subsequent years, politics has perhaps lost a little of that traditional engagement.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

I’ve just been speaking to Alistair Darling…

Scotland’s Better Together campaign has for the first time allowed humble bloggers like me to talk to its Leader, former Chancellor Alistair Darling. He held a conference call with us to discuss his lecture at Glasgow University this morning in which he presented a case for staying in the union designed to appeal to both head and heart.

He told his audience of 300 that there were two sides to the pro-union argument. One was very factual, a hard headed calculation of the benefits of the economic union, the UK single market. The second was about he social and political union …

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