What PowerPoint slides could the party leaders use in their speeches?
Given his dislike of tedious slide presentations replacing inspiring speeches, Max Atkinson was no doubt being whimsical when he suggested a competition to devise slides that the party leaders could use in their conference speeches.
But never one to miss out on a bit of competitiveness, I wanted to have a crack. Max imposed a restriction of 3 slides per speech, and in keeping with the theme of this site I’ve also restricted myself to slides that are based entirely on published polling data.
So, taking the leaders in the order of their speeches:
Nick Clegg’s audiences are first his party – potentially rebellious, but apparently still loyal – then his remaining voters, and finally his lost voters. To all of these, the message is not only that going into coalition with the Tories was the only non-suicidal option, but also that the Lib Dems are shaping government policies in ways that should please their supporters. If it weren’t for my restriction on using only polling data, I’d replace the third slide with quotes from Dorries and others saying how the Lib Dems are frustrating good Tory policies.
Ed Miliband’s job is probably the clearest – though perhaps the hardest. He needs to show the country that Labour can be trusted with the economy. The slides don’t set out any policies: they’re intended to show his party that Labour won’t be listened to until it shows it has a solution for the economy, and to show journalists that he recognises this.
Cameron’s challenge is more interesting. He’s secure in his position and has no need to persuade his party that tackling the economy is the right thing to do. But he does need to show the country that he has a vision for post-austerity Britain that will make it worth the pain. He’s tried this before, but it’s been a while since the sunny uplands have featured. From his perspective, it’s important to own this territory before Labour does.