As speechwriters we’re obsessed by our theories of communication, but in practice hardly anyone ever follows them.
Most politicians out campaigning just do the best they can in the time they’ve got.
Candidates write their own leaflets. They put in them what the party tells them to or what they think is attractive about themselves.
The party leaders use speechwriters, but their approach seems to be to repeat words and phrases until they stick. Since they’re in charge, that’s the way it is.
I’ve been a member of the Liberal Democrats for two-and-a-half years now. In Bournemouth, nobody wanted to stand in my ward for the council elections. So I volunteered.
The ward is a Conservative stronghold. I was given permission to stand. I could produce my own leaflet and video – as long as I covered the costs myself.
That was fine by me, because it gives me the chance to practise what I preach. The purpose of the theories is to influence the public.
My video is above and you can read my leaflet here. The leaflet I wrote in a tabloid style.
I’ve adopted Dr Max Atkinson’s passion for three-part lists and contrasts.
You’ll find 5 three-part lists and 2 contrasts in the 1.40 second script. Do they seem laboured? I don’t think so.
The difficulty has been circulating the video to potential voters.
I printed over 4,000 leaflets which I’m getting out as fast as I can. I haven’t counted myself, but the word on the street is that it takes an hour to deliver 100.
Will these techniques have any impact? I’m pretty sure my Conservative rivals won’t be aware of them.
The question is: can a leaflet catch the eye of a voter? And is it possible to persuade the voter to change their vote using good communication techniques?
We’ll see on 8 May 2015.