Soundbite Britain

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
January 22, 2011, 1:56 AM GMT+0

Nick Clegg’s ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ and Ed Miliband’s ‘The Squeezed Middle’ (their recent attempts to coin a name for hard-working, middle-income earners) have inspired some of our British panellists to come up with a few of their own catchphrases to describe themselves and people like them.

Many came up with names based on money troubles or feeling that they weren’t listened to by the Government, though others’ were more positive about the status quo and a few panellists just rejected what they saw as an attempt to ‘pigeon-hole’ people.

Many panellists chose names that showed them to be in a difficult situation at the moment, either financially losing out or feeling ignored by the Government.

The terms chosen by others indicated that some felt more positive about their situation.

Whereas some people disagreed with the idea of trying to characterise a whole group of people in this way.

Notwithstanding, these slogans represent an attempt by both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties to identify and win over key voters who feel they have been marginalised. Nick Clegg’s ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ focuses on the people who ‘have to get up every morning and work hard to get on in life’ and are, he says, being supported by the Coalition Government through the lowering of tax thresholds and welfare reforms such as those that make sure benefit claimants can’t afford better housing than those who work full-time.

Ed Miliband’s creation, ‘The Squeezed Middle’ purports to characterise those who are rich enough not to need benefits, but not so rich that they escape the brunt of the cuts being made by the current Government.

The Liberal Democrat and Labour party leaders appear to be capitalising on a long-running trend for shorter and catchier political terms and quotations, with the average TV soundbite now reportedly lasting under eight seconds. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair also famously embraced this trend with phrases such as ‘Education, education, education’.