Leadership

Unpopularity Contest30 July 2009

Unpopular

photo courtesy of catdesigns@yahoo.com

The other day I posted a piece on “Lethal Generosity” – a business strategy to achieve thought-leader status by giving stuff away and making life difficult for your competitors. I suggested that the parties involved are impacted by an act of lethal generosity thus:

* Positive for company or individual being generous especially if they can take the “moral high-ground”
* Positive for the clients – the beneficiaries of this generosity
* Negative for the competitors who are the recipients of the “lethal” effects.

Microsoft did it when they saw off Netscape as they gave away their own browser bundled with their Windows package.

A cynic would argue that most politicians use this strategy already but because they are lethally generous with our own money, promising to spend big and tax small, it’s a hard one to sustain competitively.

But the UK Shadow Chancellor recently changed all that in a rather bizarre way by offering to save us all with Tory economic “tough love” and promising to become the most disliked man in Britain. Applying the formula gives us:

* Positive for the Tories who aren’t even being generous and can take the “moral high-ground” for just that reason
* Negative for us, the electorate – the “beneficiaries” of these stringent measures
* Negative for the Labour Party who will be the recipients of the hoped-for “lethal” voting effects.

How about that for a neat inversion of Focus-group-Blair’s New Labour project? The more you loathe us, the better the job we’re doing!

John Major said of his economic reign: “If it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working” but either he was talking to Edwina Currie or he was way ahead of his time. Or both. No moral high ground there but this time round the strategy may prove more lethal to Labour.

Depends on how us voters perceive the reverse psychology…

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