Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Capturing an image

Labour's Clunking Fist?
It is, I suppose, possible that when Tony Blair warned David Cameron that, float as he might around the political arena he will come in reach of a big clunking fist and, you know what, he'll be out on his feet, carried out of the ring, Blair was trying to be complimentary about the Chancellor. Brown seemed to think so anyway, slapping Blair on the shoulder as he sat down. But, in hindsight, as Brown takes on the moniker of 'the Clunking Fist', the phrase looks extremely damaging.
I have droned on at considerable length and minimal interest about the importance of constructing a plausible narrative for a modern politician or party. The main work that Cameron has been doing over the last year has been to make an image of himself that will leap into people's minds when they hear his name. The next step has been to make sure that that image is the same one people see when the think of the Tories as a whole. Labour's attempts to use the Chameleon, and the media's attempts to use the Bullingdon photo have not succeeded, yet at any rate, and the general fuzzy, Webcameron, bicycling image is currently what is there.
For Brown, the problem is that his image is intensely dislikeable. For all the media 'Son of the manse' nonsense that is routinely trotted out, the prime image conjured up by Brown is the bitten fingernails, the tortured body language and the relentless battering-ram style approach to interviews: in other words an unhappy bully. For Blair to use the expression 'the Clunking Fist' is, in the circumstances, an absolute gift for the Conservatives.


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