It’s been an exciting few weeks for British politics. After a few years in which a low, dirty Labour party have dragged British politics to new depths (not listening to a million anti-war marchers, shaping legislation around the needs of big business, breaking the economy, massive national debt and mismanaging shameful expenses claims for example) it looked like the forthcoming general election would see the usual low turnout, apathy and indifference.
Until Clegg spoke at the first Leaders Debate. He’s woken people up, inspired them to think about a real alternative and consider voting differently. Sadly, his party could get the most votes but not the most seats under our shabby electoral system, unsurprisingly skewed in Labour’s favour.
But I don’t think that’s the biggest problem. I was a very early Obama supporter, and followed his march to the White House with great interest. The key to his success was learnt when he mobilised people for community action in Chicago. Systems were in place from the start for mass communication, and to mobilise a growing army of supporters. That system was clearly scaleable and future-proof. Obama took millions around the world with him as he marched.
Clegg and the Lib Dems, however, don’t seem to have figured for becoming popular. There’s no system in place to get posters to local supporters, let alone mobilise those people into a mass door-knocking campaign. The Lib Dem party can’t maintain at a grassroots level the momentum it has at the top. Unless they move quickly, their inability to manage their own election campaign will seriously dent their credibility.