IMAGE is crucial when it comes to politics - national and locally.
Ed Milliband has revealed that he may be compared to Wallace of cheesy Gromit fame, but when it comes to being taken seriously, it’s his policies that cut the mustard.
Being ridiculed eating a bacon butty was an “image disaster” - like David Cameron’s pic of his Oxford bullish Bullingdon Boys days – you can’t airbrush out these memories.
In an age of social media - everything you do is scrutinised and may end up on YouTube or re-tweeted.
William Hague fell foul of his image reconstruction when, as leader of the Tory Party, he was sporting a baseball cap that said: “Hague”. It should have said “Vague.”
Minister Esther McVey, no stranger to headlines – good and bad – decided the best way to take on the press is to become an editor and be your own image-maker.
Esther has launched her own tabloid. West Wirral households get the message delivered (whether they want it or not).
“Esther McVey’s West Wirral Observer” reports on achievements in her constituency. And this publication is “produced at no cost to taxpayers.”
Yet why go to this level of self-promotion?
All voters need is a locally produced letterbox leaflet saying what has been done, what will be done, and what taxpayers want to be done in the area.
Job done. What next – politicians making CDs of their greatest speeches?
On page one of Esther’s newspaper is a “prize sudoku.”
But the biggest puzzle is why this impressive Wirral flag-flying journal, produced locally, is printed...in Lincolnshire?
Talking of image, I recall during my early career as a political commentator, attending a Labour Party conference.
I met TV interrogator Robin Day (he of spotted bow-tie fame) and I asked him what he most disliked about party conferences.
This broadcaster, who made Jeremy Paxman seem like Alan Carr, sneered: “People like you.’’ I went to the bar to revive my spirits and sat next to a man who looked like a bank manager. He saw my press badge and asked if I was okay, adding, in his Scottish accent, if he could get me a “wee dram.”
I thanked him and got him one back. After a chat he left the room. I thought what a delightful, dignified and down-to-earth man.
The name on his badge: “John Smith – Labour Leader.”
ONE giant leap for Merseyside...one giant step backwards for day-trippers.
The Giants marionettes came to the area in 2012 and returned this week to conquer again - as the media coverage rightly shows.
But as the Globe warned, last week, there would be chaos ahead on the rail network.
Granted, it is a tall order to accommodate the vast numbers of people - families especially - who wanted to see these magnificent creations.
Those from Wirral – a large part of the 100,000 using public transport - would endure packed three-carriage trains. People of all ages were also asked to disembark at Birkenhead North on the return journey as the train was running late. Worst of all, Liverpool’s Lime Street saw massive overcrowding as families queued to get home – with no chance of getting to the toilets in the process.
The “free” spectacle was unforgettable. But the journey getting to and from was for too many people a giant nightmare.
AND finally...Moore the Merrier.
Roger Moore, my favourite Bond, is looking forward to his visit to New Brighton Floral Pavilion in November. It is selling out and promotes his book Last Man Standing.
He could have sold out for many more dates.
It is a real coup for the theatre as Roger will talk about his life, raise one of his eyebrows, tell wonderful anecdotes, and answer questions from the lucky members of the audience.
I heard him once talk about his life with great humour - so much so that I told him he was “the man with the golden pun.”
“I might use that,” chuckled Sir Roger.
Over and out.