Saturday, 3 February 2007

Opposition tactics...

Below are examples of tactics being used by two very different opposition parties:

The first is the regular video blog, 'Webcameron', by David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. Although initially skeptical, a position taken by the majority of those interested in British politics, I believe it has since turned out to be a very effective medium for communication of Cameron's basic ideas. He comes across as intelligent, reasonable, committed and, most important of all, electable!

The latest effort by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), floating across the airwaves from the end of December '06, wins 10/10 for originality, although is perhaps influenced more by Caribbean pirates than Japanese politics. Whether it scores as highly for effect has yet to be seen. However, even if the advertisement does not exactly cast party leader, Ozawa Ichiro, as an archetypal patrician, it at the very least helps to remind the electorate that the DPJ still exists!

Both the DPJ in Japan and the Conservative Party in the UK are attempting to reinvent themselves in the eyes of the electorate. Cameron is giving the Tories a softer, more social democratic edge, whilst Ozawa seems (at least in terms of rhetoric) to be moving away from the 'youthful reformism' of the DPJ's early years and plotting out a more mature set of policies.

Ozawa has repeatedly talked about bringing politics home to the people - he has claimed to be committed to battling the widening cleavages between rich and poor in Japanese society - and this is doubtlessly an attempt at mass-appeal. But are the Japanese people really persuaded more by slogans and computer-generated pirate ships than a page of solid policies? Ozawa and his policy-wonks obviously think so. And he could just be right.

R J F Villar

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