Know Your Audience

February 8, 2021

It’s been a long time since politics made any sense, or since we believed a word of what was said to us before or after an election.

It became a truism that every group got told what it wanted to hear, and what would happen after the election itself was anyone’s guess. If it matched what one of the groups had been promised… well no one admitted to being in the constituency that had had its promises delivered.

Things were looking bad for any party that decided it wanted ethics in its world, let alone in its politics. If you couldn’t vote for someone you didn’t trust, you could always vote for someone who promised little, and delivered on that promise. Running for office on the prospect of difficult decisions to be made was a losing game.

But there were still those whose gaze fell on, if not the peaks, then the foothills of the moral high ground. And once populism had run itself into the ground, but the world still seemed on the brink of disaster, where could an ethical but difficult political stance position itself?

One group found that things got a lot easier if they just narrowed their idea of which Good they wanted to promote, and which other Goods could be thrown by the wayside, sacrificed on the altar of Greater Good.

It was the Ecological Party who were the first to really put this tactic to the test. Their message had long been an unpopular diatribe on the dangers of global warming, and poorly received messages about daily personal sacrifice in the face of colossal and increasing threat. They had returned zero MPs to London in their 17 year history until they recognised their audience for what it was.

Soon their message became laced with hints of the dangers to coastal caravan parks in the face of more powerful maritime storms. In the blink of an eye their polling improved, and they leapfrogged to the effects of flooding on the amount of habitable land here and, significantly, abroad. The previously hostile right wing of the press filled in the blanks, publishing horror stories of mass migration filling the isles with hoards of climate refugees, and the Ecos were careful to keep quiet.

Climate action became sexy again, and the first Eco MPs headed to the House, but a Pandora’s Box had been opened, and could not be closed for another generation.