- Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:36 am
They will need to ask themselves what drew them to him - his politics or his personality? If it's the latter, then I'd advise against any sort of personality cult. If the former, then look for a new leader who, regardless of their personal stance on issues, is able to recognise and respect differences of opinion and build consensus.
Victory in 2020 is going to be difficult, regardless. While the economy may tank and spending cuts bite, unless you appear to have more competence and better plans than the other guys, you don't stand a chance. You also need people to back you, or at least take you seriously, for your ideas to have a chance. You might have the best ideas and plans in existence, but that's no good if you're being drowned out by catcalls from the gallery every time you open your mouth.
Next, unless things go spectacularly badly, forget any idea of some popular rising or political earthquake. The problem with being a mainstream political party is that you have to play within the system, and that means backing the system. Most people don't march in protest, strike, riot or even sign petitions. You cannot advocate anything outside 'the system'. That lends those in power a massive head start. You may sympathise with people striking but if your train's cancelled or your A&E overwhelmed, your initial anger will be at the person whose absence caused it, not the minister who authorised the policy that led to the strike. Likewise if your local authority's closing libraries and community centres, that's where you'll perceive the problem. It doesn't matter how sorry they feel about what they're doing, or what level of cuts they're being forced to make - you'll be asking 'who is immediately responsible for this shit?'. Meaning that competence in local government won't mean as much as it once did come GE time.
Answers? Ideas? Look to the May elections. If we tank, he goes. Replacement needs to be a consensus builder but at the same time have the charisma to connect. And as said earlier, come up with at least one big attention seeker of a policy that people can actually get enthused about.
"There ain't nothing you fear more than a bad headline, is there? You'd rather live in shit than let the world see you work a shovel."