I have struggled over the past few days to write anything substantial. I just haven’t been in the mood as it were. I may go into this more in another blog but something that I have noticed recently is the amount of people with opinions. The opinions who read on the internet are nearly always those who are unhappiest. They are the most dissatisfied.
Those who are happy or those who are fine with things rarely kick up too much of a fuss but those who want to vent their spleen with do so more vigorously. I wrote a blog a couple of weeks back entitled 26 comments on why the Lib Dems are in big big trouble about comments on a Comment is Free blog post about how someone had chosen to leave the Lib Dems. The comments were scathing but the correlation between anonymous internet people and those you meet on the doorstep just isn’t there.
It isn’t just a political thing though. I lurk on the Digital Spy forums and there are a few threads I read a lot. One is the F1 discussion thread which I have read for many years now. At the moment we have both F1 on Sky and F1 on the BBC and the opinions are vast but mostly people are complaining about the bad points and not praising the good points. David Croft is too ‘shouty’ say many people but Murray Walker was shouty and we loved him. Ted Kravitz sounds a bit negative say a few whereas a few months ago when he was with the Beeb he was the greatest thing ever. Martin Brundle does too much, Georgie Thompson is pointless, Simon Lazenby is too formulaic and Damon Hill adds nothing. These are just some of the opinions that are floating around. All perfectly allowable but all of them negative.
They hated Jonathan Legard when he commentated to the point where people were openly hoping James Alen would return – and they hated him to. The only person they love is Ben Edwards who is now lead for BBC F1 and they do love him. If you say a bad word about him you are looked down upon. He has God like status. Many say they don’t watch it on Sky even though they have it and prefer to wait several hours and see extended highlights just because of Ben Edwards and how awful the Sky coverage is.
If I thought that this internet forum was an accurate representation of public opinion then I’d think that Sky was doomed. However their coverage peaked at 1.5million on Sunday for the Grand Prix despite being on in the morning and most people who I’ve actually spoken to about it are more than happy with Sky’s coverage. They don’t feel the need to say how great it is because they are content. Those that want more or don’t like Sky on ideological grounds are vocal in their unhappiness and this is something all us politicos must remember.
When it comes to politics those that are unhappiest will yell loudest but those people probably wouldn’t vote for you anyway. Like in many aspects of life politics is down to momentum. The Lib Dems got a groundswell of momentum after the first leadership debate in 2010 but that momentum couldn’t be sustained because the party didn’t have the funding or any media outlets. The other two main parties have more money and more media outlets who sympathise with them.
So for Lib Dems up and down the country who’ll be campaigning over the next few weeks is to find a way to build up that momentum and not believe everything you read in the newspapers and on the internet. Not everyone hates the party and the reception on the doorstep is generally positive and yu won’t be chased off with a broom with profanities ringing in your ears.
The internet has given us a screwed view of many things and one of the most glaring it is has given a forum to haters. Yes some will dislike us but many more will want to hear what we have to say. They may or may not like it and may or may not vote for us but most will actually listen. If I believed what I read on the internet I’d think that the Lib Dems had already punched a one-way ticket to oblivion but that isn’t the case and as long as we don’t fall into that trap ourselves then the future isn’t as bleak as what everyone says.
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