The big image of the week: Lady Thatcher standing beside Gordon Brown at the door to number 10. The message conveyed: Thatcher has more in common with Brown than with Cameron. The audience targeted: the Conservative Party’s base. The goal: bringing Gordon Brown one step closer to destroying the Conservative Party (for at least the foreseeable future).
So if you’re the Conservative Party and you want to counter the effect of this image what do you do? Well firstly you’d determine what audience you need to target; in this case the Conservative Party’s base. Then you’d determine what action you want that audience to take; in this case rejecting the message Brown was trying to communicate to them with the image in the first place. Then you’d probably ask yourself how do I best achieve that objective.
You might for example say to yourself, “Lady Thatcher is more than just a former Prime Minister to the Party faithful, much more. In reality she’s the living embodiment of everything they believe politically.” That being so you’d probably decide not to attack her in even the most indirect of ways. No, you’d probably decide to praise her. You’d say something like “Lady Thatcher has a tremendous amount of respect for the office of Prime Minister – something Gordon Brown clearly does not – and quite rightly accepted the invitation of the current Prime Minister to join him in
Apparently the best way to deal with the situation is to send Rob Wilson, Cameron’s Higher Education spokesman, onto Radio 4 to say:
“Whilst some of my weak-minded colleagues are fair game for Mr Brown, Baroness Thatcher at 81 – we know she’s frail, we know she’s lonely, and she does have difficulty, without going into too much detail, with her memory… I think all the evidence is suggesting that she has been taken advantage of.”
Even the LibDems would find it difficult to handle something with this level of utter incompetence.
Needless to say Lady Thatcher’s officereacted , quite rightly, reacted with indignation to Rob Wilson’s absurd postulations. Result, the audience you wanted to win over just moved a little further away.