Be different. The newspapers recently posted a picture of the three leaders of the main parties waiting to greet some functionary. They wore the same suit, and I mean the exact same suit - midnight blue, two buttoned, notch lapelled, single breasted. Their shirts were identical Persil white; their hair styled as thought they had all bought the same syrup; their ties patternless pastel shades, tied in unpresumtious medium sized knots. All in a line, they stood like they had been stamped out on a machine, like Ken Dolls.
The similarity didn't end there. They all wore the same eager to please expression, they were the same height, I mean weirdly, precisely the same height, and if the picture had sound you would hear them say pretty much the same things. They want to reward hard working people, they want fairness, lower taxes, more jobs, better education...the full vanilla menu of aspirational normality.
How does the eager voter choose? You couldn't slip a Rizla between them. This is partly why so few people vote any more, the choices are so enervating. What you need to do is stand out, be different, grab the electorate by the throat and yell what they want to hear right in their faces, which brings me to...
Be loud. Be loud and aggressive and forceful. Get noticed. Stand out. Recent research by trained scientists suggests that if you want to persuade people of your point of view, it does not matter whether you are right, it does not matter if you have facts back up your assertions, nor even if you are clearly a cup cake short of a tea party. To get your message across, it simply matters that you be deafening when you deliver it.
Volume is the key. Those quivering sacks of jelly that have whispered their way to the tops of the main parties have lost the ear of the public because they don't jolt us out of our malaise. If you want to get attended to, start bending the needle on the volume dial, send the VU meter into the red, be loud enough to wake the dead. On Mars.
Loosen the valve on the pressure cooker. We live in a saccharine society of politeness and genuflection, unless we are driving a car, when we become incontinent, emotionally speaking. Give people that freedom in their everyday lives. They will be upset about no end of things: work, rest, play, themselves, other people, pets, inanimate objects, flowers, you name it. Blowing one's top in public is frowned on, however. We are encouraged to keep it all in, to stay constipated. Well, unscrew that cork and just see what a torrent of pent up furious indignation shoots out. Make it OK to be angry. Make it OK to be publicly, volubly, ravingly, boilingly, livid.
This is nothing, however, without...
Give them someone to be angry at. It's the oldest political trick in the book. Identify a minority and blame all that ails society on them. People want to blame an external locus of control when their life didn't go as they had planned, or fails to meet the illustration in the lifestyle magazines they flip though while waiting to see the doctor about their haemorrhoids. That their fate is probably down to luck is absolutely no comfort, so it is helpful to suggest that their predicament might just be someone else's fault. No, strike that - it IS someone else's fault!
Too much rain? It's the gays. Marriage breaking down? It's the gays, ramming their lifestyle down our throats. Soho not as naughty as it was? That's the gays with their cup cake shops and their underwear parlours gentrifying up the place. Feel uncomfortable when you go out? It's the youth, hanging about with their hoods and their rap music and their multi-coloured running shoes. Can't get a date? It's because you can't buy a flat and you haven't got a car because you can't get a job, and that's because "they come over here..." and so on.
Go light on the facts. Facts get in the way of a good argument. You don't need them. Simply pluck numbers and trends out of the air. Refer to Lesson Two for instructions on how to deliver them. Then, and this is crucial, state that the majority of people believe that what you are saying is right, especially if they don't. The ones that do will gain succour from this. They will feel that they are not isolated, and it will tempt them out of their shells, to repeat your assertions, to dig their heels in and recruit new adherents to the cause. And that's when you must apply...
Don't fear the loonies. They are everywhere. Embrace them. I don't mean the mentally unwell, I mean those that are functioning members of society but who are...er...misguided. Some will take to emailing radio talk show hosts every thirty seconds for the entire length of their shows, every day for years, others will sue McDonald's for $1.5m for mental anguish because they were only given one paper napkin with their Happy Meal (I'm not making that up). These people may not be your core vote but they are numerous and suggestible enough to make a massive difference in the numbers of your followers.
Voice the things that are true but that we are too polite to say. For example, everyone feels more comfortable with others that are just like them. It's an innate survival mechanism. We are fearful of others because when laws were not a major impediment to killing a rival, it was important to surround yourself with people you knew. The law is pretty clear on that score today but even now, there's no end of murdering over the silliest things. It is not prejudice, it is natural to avoid depending on the kindness of strangers. We are not much different now, to when when we were defending our caves. Now we are defending our space on the train, the fence in our garden, or our place in the queue.
No-one says this, though, because we are pretending that it is not so. Every conflict on earth suggests that it is, from the most mundane neighbourly dispute to the coming Third World War, which may be started by those neighbours the Chinese versus their close personal enemies Japan, or North versus South Korea, or West versus East Europe.
Simply by stating this truism, that we feel distrustful and fearful of outsiders, you will unleash a tsunami of relief that FINALLY someone has said what people have felt but were too cowed by social mores to say out loud.
And if you follow these rules and still don't get any MPs at the next general election, worry not. You will have, at the very least, gained notoriety and fame, you will be more powerful than you were and you will have made rich, helpful contacts that would otherwise not have been available to you, and if that doesn't spell political success, I don't know what does.Suggest a correction