Sunday, September 13, 2009

We Deserve Better (and We Can Do Better)

Last week I wrote that I thought the French language ads released by the Liberals were superior to the English ones and it is still true, in a very important way. The slogans of the ads are different in the two languages. In French the Canadian voter is told that they deserve better. In the English ones they are told that the Liberals can do better. The French slogans is superior for numerous reasons, hinging on the Liberals being the ones who will be seen as having pushed the next election.

Due to the epic crudeness of Stephen Harper's government and its ubiquitous partisanship, it is highly tempting to run on this as your slogan. However, the majority of Canadians seem to believe that anyone could do better than Harper. In other words, this slogan that should become your rallying cry is not hugely revelatory.

What's more, the slogan "We can do Better" is less potent for reaching to supporters of other federal parties. The English ads clearly focus on the Liberals being able to do better. And while that is true, it would be more desirable to adopt a slogan that is less partisan, and thus more motivating. The slogan "We Deserve Better" appeals to the citizen in supporters of all the political parties, save the Conservatives. Everyone apart from a Tory can agree with those words, and have their emotions aroused by this injustice. Not everyone thinks that the Liberals are those who can do the job best.

Possibly more important is that a theme of deserving better is more appealing and effective with the non-partisan, politically disinterested Canadian. To reach this voter, one must ensure that they feel they need to vote, and that they have been wronged by their government. Therefore they are far more likely to respond positively to a less partisan slogan.

Finally and most importantly, the Liberals have positioned themselves so that they will have triggered the next election, if it comes. For this reason, the Liberal party needs to provide a compelling case for an election, sooner or later. Saying that the country deserves better fits this criteria better than declaring that we can do better, therefore we need an election.

Ignatieff needs to demonstrably prove that the Canadian citizen has been slighted, has received less from their government than they deserve and that their government has endorsed policies that are not in the national interest, or sound in principle. If he does so, voters will not only forgive him for causing an election, they will recognize the need for an election.

For if Ignatieff uses "We Can do Better", it begs the question so what? No such questions will be asked if the slogan is "We Deserve Better"
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