Nothing Shocking! Liberal brand needs a makeover

The new Abacus finding states the obvious, namely the Liberal brand suffers, associated with unattractive connotations. When people think Liberal, they think of corruption, dishonesty, internal divisions, among other things. In other words, we see little evidence that the Ignatieff Liberals have shed any of the baggage that led to past defeat.

The most maddening characteristic of the Liberal Party of Canada, is the never ending nostalgia, the rear view mirror routine that bathes itself in past triumphs. I don’t discount a pride in certain accomplishments, but the projection onto the public dialogue is counter-productive. Today, we have a "new" leader- in the sense of no ties to past regimes- and Ignatieff still continually talks of the "institution", what people did prior, this bizarre continuity which actually handicaps the brand with the public. We trot out the old war horses, competent or not, and wonder why people still associate the party with the past. Instead of surrounding Ignatieff with all things new, young, vibrant, different, we favour experience, pedigree, pecking orders, all the things which congeal to inspire absolutely nobody. This Abacus poll should be a wake up call in a sense, because we’ve basically done very little to re-invent the brand, something I’ve always felt should be job one.

Long ago, I came to the conclusion that the only people proud of the Liberal legacy are Liberals. Look at those three successive majorities we won against NO credible opposition, a divided right, that’s the template, that’s the way it’s done, that’s what we need to recapture? Oh bloody bullocks, in the public’s mind that name, that legacy is associated with EXACTLY the words Abacus found, EXACTLY. You can never recapture the past, and in our case, it’s frankly better left there, with little reference required. We need the "new Liberals", the forward thinking re-constitution, a departure from the past, something people see as current and above all distant from the BAGGAGE.

Every time I raise this issue, I sense some blow back, because people rightfully remember accomplishments. However, this is a harsh game, and in the interests of the "team", I’d ignore the past and strategically move people around to promote the freshest optics imaginable. In concert, an actually effort to re-invent the brand, instead of these continual, purposeful references to lineage. Nobody cares, here you have a poll which says the past is poison, so let’s get over it, let’s forget about egos and institutions, accelerate natural turnover, do whatever you must to get the very real stench off the brand. Can’t understand why we never fully capitalize on Harper’s missteps? Here you have your answer, in stark and sober terms, simple but so instructive. I understand it’s a process, but I’m not even sure we’ve begun to tackle. The Liberal brand doesn’t need tinkering, we need an almost revolutionary mindset..

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val. 

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