Telling stories and conference season

I wouldn't normally write about politics, there's plenty of people out there already sounding off. No one wants yet another voice.
But I can't help but feel it's worth quickly summing up what the UK party conferences managed to achieve. It might be a bit early, the Tories are yet to close theirs. But some of the results are, I think, becoming clear.
So to sum up:
The Lib Dems: what conference? they had the handicap of going first so we are least able to remember them. Try as I might no lasting communication emerged from their conference other than they are worried about their position in government going forward. Most people are left with the sense of a party that is nervous, bordering on desperate. Not a single policy message from the party managed to dislodge this view.
Labour: Energy prices. Ed Miliband, as better commentators than I pointed out, established his party as the party concerned about living standards and those struggling to get by. His policy is interventionist, but I'm not sure most people will be concerned about the underlying political nuance embedded in that. They see cheaper gas and electricity no matter how much noise the energy industry makes about it.
Conservatives: Well it's all about Ed Miliband and the Daily Mail. Compared to that the massages from the Tory conference was shouting in the wind - some of it got through, some of it didn't.

The lessons.
Organisations - business and politicians - have to compose compelling narratives about themselves, their policies, products or services. We have a tendency to be reductionist in our understanding of messages. Despite all the apparently sophisticated analysis that is available to inform us, we tend to reduce narratives to elements of conflict. The Lib Dems Vs everyone; Miliband Vs the Mail; The Tories Vs benefits or  Vs the debt.
Some are worthy, some are not. One thing is sure if the key elements are missing, even if they are well articulated, our attention will wander. Miliband/Mail clash is interesting because it gives the Labour leader a universal motivation for action that goes beyond narrow political interests. Despite it's political content, the story is about fathers and sons. It's visceral, primal, and as I said, universal. Everyone has a father. We can all relate. Those that dissent inevitably appear cold, aloof, somewhat inhuman.

Grumbling Brits and the economy

Thought I'd share some reading for you today. I've recently become engrossed in the work of philosopher Mark Rowlands, a Welshman who teaches in the US. Which might help us understand why Santander's chief exec recently complained about "grumbling" Brits and why they may be undermining the economy.

Rowlands' book from earlier this year, Running with the Pack, is a reflection on why we run - long distance running in particular. A couple of passages draw attention to the differences between the way Americans and Brits consider any form of endeavour.

He concluded that Americans are driven by optimism (they can achieve anything if they work hard enough); faith (we must have immovable faith in ourselves) and work (work is inherently ennobling).

Rowlands dismisses them all. Optimism is misplaced because whatever happens we will get worse. Faith is bogus because, actually, it's the loss of faith that makes us grow stronger. And work?
"But my murky European spirit tells me that work is not inherently ennobling at all: to work when you do not have to is stupid rather than ennobling. And there is no evidence of any reliable connection between hard work and realisation of dreams."

And then there is this: "...I'm still enough of a Brit to recognise the age-old tradition of taking an activity that someone does and finding ways to denigrate it - ideally by casting aspersions on the motives or character of the person doing it. I appreciate this tradition for the cultural art form that it is - even when I am the person whose motives or character are thus aspersed."

I hate to say. As a Brit that helped me understand and define myself a little better.