When Chirac faced the referendum for the approval of the constitution of Europe he was quite sure that it would be a clear Oui by the French population. Until voting day was just round the corner, the positive result in the referendum was the smallest of Monsieur Chirac soucis. The French would show Europe the way.
But they didn't.
When Mr. Bush was up for his second scrutiny and a confirmation of a second term at the White House many pundits expected a resounding return of the Democrats. Again, until voting day was just round the corner, the shooing of Dubya from the White House was meant to be as easy as cooking a French Fry. The Americans would go out there and kick the warmonger out of office. But they didn't
Yesterday, the corridors of power in Berlin were meant to get a great big shake up. Angie Merkel was meant to become the first female Chancellor of the Bundesrepublik. Opinion polls, those makers or breakers of governments of the nineties, had given her a twenty point lead over Shrouded Schroeder. The Germans were meant to kick the social-democrats into kingdom come and reinstate the Christian-Democrat crowd in the steering position. But they didn't.
Three colossal electoral machines. Three wrong calls. Time for a strike out? Are we, as Schroeder put it last night, rejecting the manipulative media? Had the media which had been presenting us with a supposed victor throughout the late seventies, the eighties and the nineties finally been spurned by the voter? Gerhard seems to believe that he had never lost this election. That he had not Houdinied himself out of a disaster. He believes that the media had begun to ring his death bell long before he had even caught a cold.
Not too far a call. Noughties man can no longer identify with a political party. To speak of allegiance is definitely pass�. Noughties man is more down to earth and, though not always on the mark, knows exactly what he or she wants. Noughties man has shed the media as the ultimate guiding light for who to vote for. Has he really set aside the curtains of false propaganda? Has noughties man begun to dig the grave of the media that for so long has assumed him to be Na�ve Man ready to be manipulated by the marketing pundits of this world?
I am not sure and we will need to see this in more detail. In the meantime many questions arise:
1) Media and its use. If trust and faith in the media really withers out then all the battles for control (vide Berlusconi in Italy, vide Super 1 and Net in Malta, vide the giant corps in USA) will count for nought. A new, more pragmatic and realistic media must emerge that will survive this current mistrust.
2) The Emergence of New Media. Technological innovations, in particular the World Wide Web will continue their uncontrolled adaptation to this phenomenon. The blog, the interactive newspaper, the wiki and other such tools will adapt to the functional, practical and no-nonsense needs of the Noughties man (in political terms & this does not mean that other uses of the WWW will stop).
3) Political Parties & their Messages. The new political party will have to take note of this change. In a way the manipulation of Noughties man will not seem possible. The easy availability of information does not allow political parties to channel their own one-sided truths down the throat of the gullible voter. Noughties politics implies diversification, adaptability and interactivity. The distance between party and voter must be bridged and fast.
There is much more where this came from. It may be just a gut reaction. Comments are welcome.
Came across this article called Erroneous Forecasts (Reuters) after finishing this post.