For some time, I’ve pondered how the art of politics has much to learn from art forms such as music. Never has this been more so than what confronts us in the current UK political domain. I stress that I write this from a stance of being as impartial as I can be about the UK political parties. My interest is in their varying communication methods. This brings me back to the communication approach of the UK’s Conservative Party. It remains a curious affair. Quick random thoughts:
a) a successful external relations/communication strategy requires a compelling ‘vibe’ or atmosphere. It needs to feel good. Check out any Miles Davis recording from the 1950s and 1960s. The ‘Kind of Blue’ album is a classic. Each track has a great vibe. This means creating a rhythmic or harmonic hook, an atmosphere. Even if you don’t know what’s going on you want to keep listening. Switching to politics, what kind of communication atmosphere does the current UK Conservative Party create? It is possibly fair to say it lacks the positive ‘vibe’ of the Labour Party (whether Labour’s spending plans add up is another matter). The Conservative Party exudes an atmosphere of relative silence, it points up potential storm clouds and speaks of threats that require managing. This may be all well and good. It may be accurate, but you need light as well as shade. Where’s the feel good vibe?
b) great musical creativity is drawn from long-held convictions, musical beliefs, great techniques; if you like, it stems from a musical philosophy. Listen to Duke Ellington, J.S. Bach or John Coltrane…..These qualities enabled these wonderful musicians to create their own highly-individual maps with routes to levels of great creativity. I raise the question of what are the long-held convictions, political beliefs of the current senior figures in the Conservative Party? The art of politics means deeply-held beliefs come in handy, e.g. Margaret Thatcher and the thoughts of Milton Friedman, Clement Attlee’s socialism. Whether you agree with him or not, Jeremy Corbyn has long held clear political beliefs. His political convictions are clear. He may even subscribe to a political philosophy. By contrast, what are the political convictions of the current leadership of the Conservative Party? Great works of music, creativity, are drawn from deeply-held convictions, beliefs. Political convictions may form the make-up of the new UK Government – if so it would be helpful for me, perhaps others, to know what they are? More is needed than slogans such as ‘strong and stable…’.