But first, a truism: if the public are not buying the product politicians are selling, no end of stunts and clever tricks or lies will convince voters to change their minds. Tan Kin Lian, Goh Meng Seng, s/o JBJ, Roy Ngerng, Tan Jee Say, M Ravi, New Citizen Han Hui Hui. Lina Chiam and, of course, Dr Chee, can testify to this fact. Sadly so too can Dr Paul Thamby, Dr Ang Yong Guan, the WP teams in Marine Parade and East Coast and P Ravi.
Now, having reminded that voters are like consumers of beer or soap in that they have to be persuaded, here’s my constructive, nation-building solution on how to chip away at the PAP’s hegemony. Those challenged for time can skip the next three paras and start at “Cherian George …”
Here I said: My serious point is that Oppo and social activists must realise that Brand PAP is very strong* with easily 60- 70%% of the voting market; and that their own base is, at best 30%, of the voters, with a core but passive base of about 20% of all the voters. The good news is that only 35% of the voters are hard-core PAP supporters like Eunice Chia-Lim and Jason Chua. There is the 35% of the voters that are prepared to listen to the right message delivered by the right person (not any mad dog or Chee): remember they voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. And in GE 2011, up to 10 points of them voted for the Oppo, allowing the WP to win Aljunied (which had two cabinet ministers, and one junior minister).
Until the Oppo and social activists realise how the numbers stack up, the PAP’s hegemony is assured so long as the PAP doesn’t mess up too badly.
So being willing to accept reality waz to be done?
Cherian George had an insight that he never developed. In a piece last year he grumbled that the PAP had succeeded in persuading S’poreans that freedom of expression was not a good thing. Actually the list is a lot longer. The PAP has made Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”*, progressives ideas all, bad products, not suitable for
Well if a brand is toxic, what do good marketeers do? Detoxify and repackage i.e, rebrand. Example: In the USA shareholder [a]ctivism has gone from being frowned upon, something that marks you out as a rogue or a maverick, to almost socially responsible. The shareholder activists rebranded themselves as good responsible corporate citizens, not greedy corporate raiders.
But who can do the rebranding of progressive ideas here? Certainly not the two leading Oppo parties. The WP is too timid and its elected MPs only interested in protecting their sinecures, while the SDP is toxic, so long as Mad Dog Chee leads it. And the minor parties are also useless, the
— Chiams’ Party is only interested in slimimg Dr Chee;
— NSP is discredited so long as it has a president who never told voters of his criminal record and bankruptcy;
— SDA is asleep between election;
— RP, PPP and DPP are one-man shows and
— SingFirst is run by retirees for retirees.
The French economy minister is ambitious but has no political base Mr Macron has never been elected—he was economic adviser at the Elysée before being appointed economy minister in 2014—and is not even a member of the Socialist Party. He has only a handful of parliamentary deputies behind him, and no local, grass-roots network.
And his party is way behind in the polls.So what does he do? He has started a movement: He insists that, for now, his movement is about ideas, not politics. The plan is to build a virtual network online and through social media, using public opinion to construct support outside traditional structures. Mr Macron, though, is known to harbour his own political ambitions, and France will hold a presidential election in 2017. There is a giant leap between a one-man thinking outfit, however refreshing, and a political movement that can gather sustained electoral momentum.
(Quote from Economist blog)
In S’pore, those who want political change have no representation in parly except for Leon the Lion and his fellow NCMPs and no local, grass-roots network. So they == I’m thinking of people like Richard Wan, Dr Ang Yong Guan**, Yeoh Lam Keong (the ex-GIC economist), Siew Kum Hong, P Ravi***, Dr Pauk Thamby****, Eric Tan (Remember him?), Peter Teo (WP’s go-to lawyer, Remy Choo (co-founder of TOC and now a lawyer) and Affin Sha — should get together and start a movement … about ideas, not politics. The plan is to build a virtual network online and through social media, using public opinion to construct support outside traditional structures.
This movement’s big idea should be to market progressive ideas like Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism” professionally and responsibly. They should also market these values as a package that can promote material well-being not juz human rights.
This package should be marketed like an existing European heritage beer that is popular around the world but reviled here (bad marketing in the past and dirty tricks by the dominant players).
Here’s an alternative marketing strategy — using a campaign based on shock tactics
But remember, its been tried here before by Dr Chee and JBJ. Remember Dr Chee’s civil disobedience activities? Remember JBJ’s allegations of PAP corruption? And the rabid stuff put up by TOC and TRE regularly?
The main platforms will be social media and the internet which in S’pore are friendly to progressive ideas. TOC and TRE can play a big part but keep the sabo-king the Indian away. Remember how it fixed Dt Chee with the story about “a Dr Tan Wei Ling” supporting a petition in favour of Dr Chee, plastering a big picture of Harry’s daughter for better effect? She reacted by dissing Dr Chee. The PAP could not have asked for more from Balji, a shareholder of the Indi and an editorial adviser.
This marjeting of progressive ideas campaign will be a peaceful form of the guerilla warfare practiced by Mao, Fidel and Che.
The best insurgency strategy is to win the propaganda war, erode your opponents’ support base and offer an alternative that keeps your supporters onside: taz how I interpret what Mao, Fidel Che as saying about successful guerilla warfare.
They won didn’t they?
*Like the CCP, the PAP is worried about progressive ideas:Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”
In China, the CCP’s concerns were made clear in a document that began circulating in secret in April 2013 and was later leaked. Document Number Nine, as it is called, describes “the current state of the ideological sphere” and identifies seven challenges to it. They include Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”
**I’m assuming he resigns from SingFirst.
***I’m assuming the Chiams kick him out of SPP for giving his backing to Dr Chee in the Bukit Batok by-election when it was clear that Lina Chiam was trying to destroy Chee’s credibility: Oppo sabo Oppo.
****I’m assuming Chee does what he usual does to those than threatrn his power. Think Jeremy Chen and Danny the SDP Bear.