Friday, August 19, 2011

My advice for politicians on the recent UK riots

There has been no shortage of advice on offer to politicians on the riots although much soul searching remains on how best to respond.

I believe that politicians of all parties could have responded much better. A problem is that many party leaders did what they do normally: offer top-down solutions. We had images of politicians in suits visiting damaged businesses and homes. The idea was surely - amongst other ideas - to look like they were "doing" something about the problem in listening to the public's reaction. This response could be expected, but leaders of each party has missed a trick.

My advice for politicians on the recent UK riots would be to act differently. They should have traded their suits and ties for a jumper and a pair of jeans. Instead of asking the public about their views in a chat on the street, party leaders should have held the discussion with brooms in hand. Why not talk about how to address the damage done as you help clear up the mess?

Think about the publicity and positive message that could have been sent by Ed Miliband if he was paraded about clearing up debris and helping clean London's streets. An opportunity missed. (If only I was a member of his advisory team....)

The problem now is that the politicians all look and appear the same in the clothes they wear, the shops visited, and confused (and often lacking in substance) responses to how we might best avoid a future riot. No doubt Miliband has responded best and benefitted politically, but it could have been even better.

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