As the furore of the General Election calms ever so slightly and the whole country (including David Cameron) comes to term with the surprise result, the political parties are now looking to the future.
For Cameron, this means reshuffling the cabinet and coming up with numerous variations of the same answer to the constant questions about Scotland.
For Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP, however, this is either damage control central or the start of something big – depends really on whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person. With all three party leaders resigning before DC had barely walked back through the doors of Number 10, all eyes are on what happens next.
Yes, we have five more years of Tory-led Government, but what the three other parties do now could determine what happens in the five after that.
Let’s take Labour; many have blamed its defeat on former leader Ed Miliband and the fact that many could just not picture him in the position of power, despite a sudden surge in popularity in the last few weeks of campaigning that resulted in the creation of the Milifandom.
Since his resignation, the media has been awash with various assumptions on who the next leader will be and how they will revive the party’s policies – do they, too, have a good old reshuffle, or will they revive the policies of Blair and New Labour? Even former party members have had their say with both Mandelson and Darling attacking Miliband’s campaign strategy – not great PR is it really when even your own party starts having a pop at you.
Nigel Farage, meanwhile, was, despite your thoughts on UKIP as a party, a charismatic candidate. Will the party now go for someone a little more serious (and a little more sober) or attempt to replicate their former leader knowing that the votes are there for the taking?
As for Clegg, I’ll be honest, I feel sorry for him. He was in a difficult position and I think he did the best he could. Unfortunately for the Lib Dems, the damage for them was done long before they started trekking the campaign trail. No longer tied into a coalition, I’m sure party supporters – both old and new – will be eagerly watching what they do next and whether they can revive their former popularity.
I’d imagine then that the strategy-builders behind each of the three parties must be having a field day as they put together a bullet-proof iron-clad process, designed to definitely get them into office after the next GE and the key to that will, no doubt, be the identity of the person that leads them there.
I read an article today that said everything we do, even down to our haircut, is a marketing ploy – it is how you present yourself to the world, in the same way a press release presents the thoughts and ideals of your party/business/organisation.
The no-doubt imminent decision of who will lead each of the three parties will set them up for the next five years – one wrong decision and no amount of positive PR can save them. Unfortunately, despite peoples’ calls to vote for policies not personalities, it’s not that simple anymore; the likability factor has to be there – the British public wants someone it can rely on, someone it can trust.
So … who’s your bet on?