Friday, October 19, 2007

Trivia by any other name 

For those who don’t make politics a central interest in their lives, decisions about who to support in elections (or even to notice who is who) can turn on quite odd little things. Marketing isn’t everything but still…

One disadvantage we had under Ming was that there were two Scottish names in the mix. Outside of Scotland, ‘Cameron’ and ‘Campbell’ look about the same in a headline. In Scotland of course the names come with red hot historical tags attached which jump off the page.

I suspect many people in England – and Wales - had to stop and think ‘is this the Tory guy or the Libdem?’ when confronted by a CEEFAX headline saying ‘Campbell attacks Brown’s dithering’. Or rather they didn’t stop and think and just assumed it was The Tory unless specifically prodded otherwise.

Now we have emerging a line-up of (apparently) two potential leaders with very short and recognisable headline-friendly names. Both ‘Clegg’ and ‘Huhne’ will fit nicely into big type and at 5 letters give room for more words in the rest of the message on Ceefax.

Chris of course may suffer a little from having a slightly foreign-sounding name while Nick has the marginal (?) advantage of an archetypical Northern handle. Interesting therefore that Nick is playing up the ‘Northern Real World’ line with his campaign launch. Of course with his mother being Dutch by origin we can confidently expect some Tories to claim he is really an interloper operating under a flag of convenience.

Incidentally if UK Law was on the same lines as Dutch Law Nick would officially be ‘an Immigrant’ here as ‘immigrants’ in the Nederlands (Allochtoon) are defined as being people with one parent born outside the country regardless of where they themselves were born.

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