Steves Blog

Style over Substance

31 January 2015

With less than 90 days to the general election on 7 May, we are subject to a volley of news regarding the merits and shortcomings of the main parties’ policies. For us the electorate we face a tough choice, which is further complicated by the fact that our vote could unknowingly form a coalition government, not of our choice.

The key issue for me is: are we voting for a Prime Minister or are we voting for their parties’ policies? In essence, we are faced with a tough choice of Style over Substance.

Will the UK’s most authentic leader in the race ultimately swing the vote? A vote for style could be at the expense of some effective policies; however my concern is that, with the current austerity measures in place, there is little substance to play with - no matter how you cut it, there is not enough to go around. This issue is clearly demonstrated when you listen to parties politicking at the margins, proposing nominal give-aways for pensioners or increased paternity leave for new fathers.

There are similarities with how a client selects a consultancy. Do they focus on the people who will lead and manage the project or do they focus on the processes and procedures that the consultancy will implement to deliver the project on time, on budget and in line with their client’s requirements?

My view is that in an ideal world clients, and we as an electorate, would prefer both, but if a choice has to be made the style of the leader often prevails - not least because people buy from and vote for people not their policies or procedures. We yearn to be led and seek to follow a credible leader. History shows that on many occasions the masses have followed the wrong leader regardless of their policies - we will see which way the UK decide to go on 7 May.

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