Irrational Electorate



This script was written by influential Labour blogger Hopi Sen.


This route has been tried before (and largely failed) with the ‘Dave the Chameleon’ ppb of 2006.  The reason it failed is that people might accept that David Cameron has changed his mind, but that does not mean they are willing to distrust him.  People are irrational in this sense.


The aim of the ‘Dave the Chameleon’ advert and the above script is to get people to agree with the following two statements:


(1)”I think David Cameron has changed his position on various issues”

(2) “I don’t trust David Cameron”


Both the above script and ‘Dave the Chameleon’ would no doubt increase the number of people agreeing with statement (1) but I fear they would not lead to agreeing with statement (2). 


The reason, is that statement (1) is a factual statement.  Statement (2) is an emotional statement.  To get people to change their mind on something factual  is relatively simple: you show them compelling evidence.  To get someone to change the way they feel emotionally about something, is much more difficult.


I’ll give you an example to explain this more clearly:


In the 1980’s Pepsi commissioned some blind taste-testing of Coca-Cola vs Pepsi.  The results came in that Americans preferred the taste of Pepsi to Coca Cola when they were unaware of the brand.  Pepsi ran a load of adverts to tell the USA that people preferred Pepsi.  This was a very rational way to approach changing people’s minds from choosing Coke to choosing Pepsi.  Whilst Pepsi ran adverts trying to ‘prove’ a ‘fact’ about their drink, Coca Cola made ads like this:



The problem with the above script is that the public don’t seem to distrust David Cameron and I fear to get them to do so would lead to ‘New Labour, New Danger’ territory.  Gordon Brown needs to build his emotional appeal with the public on his own terms and that is what Labour’s communication should be trying to do.  I’m not saying that having the public distrust the opposition is a bad tactic, it just seems that this tactic was tried – quite rightly – early doors but has been proven to be lacking.






  1. Other problem with the Dave the Chameleon ad is that nobody found it funny outside of the Labour Party. Everyone else just thought it made Cameron look cute and cuddly: which played into the message of “compassionate conservatism” which he was promoting at the time.

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