It is every marketers’ dream to see content, created in moments, take off round the world under its own steam. Any number of posts offering Internet Marketing advice start with “Create Good Quality Viral Content”. Which is like a recipe for “Unicorn Pie” starting “First catch your unicorn”. As the 2019 General Election Campaign wends its weary way to its appointment with destiny, I’ve had several goes, so I thought to crowd source advice as to which cut through, and which don’t.
Anyone who reads these is welcome to reuse them for any purpose without acknowledgement. But I would be interested in people’s views as to which have most impact, and why.
I recognise Ariana Grande
And also Liam Gallagher. Between
Them a procession of faces unseen
Unheard unknown to me before today
Strut, prance, sing, parade performing skills they
Have honed around the world since the last teen
Culture left home. Ossified tastes careen
Novelty leaving a streamlined assay
Of prog and punk. Methinks I’ve missed out.
Music doesn’t stop because I don’t
Listen, any more than the world ended
When we passed the millennium. No doubt
The killers disagree. Their masters won’t
Permit girls joy or bodies unrended.
There is a difference between a short Story and a novel beyond merely Length. Whilst Polonius said “Brevity Is the soul of wit” Hamlet’s author sought Laughs contrasting this sagacious effort With extraordinary prolixity. It isn’t boring that the irony Requires his speeches be so finely wrought. The short story is of necessity Spare, no time, space or scope for digression It can read like an excerpt from something Longer. But novels want no such paucity. They need to fulfill our expectation That i’s are dotted and all t’s crossing!
In June 2016, the UK voted in an advisory referendum to leave the European Union.
As soon as the result was known, there was interest in the factors that correlated with voting intentions. Lord Ashcroft carried out research that suggests age was a good postdictor of voting choice.
Although the referendum was advisory, not mandatory, David Cameron said his Government would bind itself to the referendum result. However, no UK government can bind its successors, and he immediately resigned.
Then in 2017, we had another election in which no party won an overall majority, and during which the two largest parties offered radically different visions of Brexit.
Referenda haven’t been used much in the UK. After the 2017 General Election, and even more so after the 2019 European Elections, I asked myself the question, how might you decide the shelf-life of a UK referendum mandate? We don’t allow dead people to vote, and since it seems that 2016 Leave Voters tended to be older than Remain voters, I wondered if it might be possible to work out when the number of 2016 Remain voters surviving outnumbered the surviving 2016 Leave voters.
Here are my conclusions.
Sir John Curtice writes occasionally for the BBC Website, and he published graphs showing his research into how voting intention had correlated with age, and how participation correlated with age.
The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes:
UK Population Details, men and women, segmented by age, in one year segments.
UK Death rates, men and women, segmented by age, in 5 year segments.
I used the figures for 2015.
First, I applied Sir John Curtice’s graphs for participation and likelihood of voting by age to the ONS population segmentation to come up with a prediction of what the Brexit vote would be.
I got an answer of 17.6 million, which is pretty close to the actual 17.4 million. Bear in mind I haven’t ‘tuned’ the model at all. I was frankly amazed, and decided there was no need for anything more sophisticated (see e.g. http://www.statsguy.co.uk/brexit-voting-and-education/ for some very interesting detailed analyses).
I then applied the ONS segmented death figures to my modelled Leave numbers by age to arrive at a prediction of the number of first year deaths, and got a number well over half a million (the bar effect on the graphs is because the age segments are 5 year bands, whilst the population segments are years).
Obviously you can only die once, so I turned the number of deaths into a likelihood of a 2016 Leave voter surviving 1 year, which turns out, on my model, to be 0.97. Three years of this, and 1.5 million 2016 Leave voters have died.
Annual deaths in the UK are around 600,000. Subtract the dead Leave voters, and you’re left with 100,000 deaths, to be shared between Remain voters and ‘Did Not Vote’. ‘Did Not Vote’ includes all children under 18 who have a low chance of dieing, but I have not modelled them at all. Remain voters outnumbered Abstainers of voting age, 5 to 3, most deaths would be in people of voting age, the Abstain age profile is similar to that of the Remain age profile, so I would guess that perhaps 60,000 2016 Remain voters have died each year.
So the cross over point, when the number of living 2016 Remain voters exceeds the number of living Leave voters, must be sometime around now.
Should anyone wish to carry this further, here is my model, in the form of a LibreOffice spreadsheet.
Nothing persuades your children you are an
Idiot faster than their own baby.
Since Developmental Psychology
Has advanced they’re far more on trend than
You, they’ve been reading everything they can
Lay their hands on about biology,
All the other ‘ologies known to man.
Grandparents’ thoughts are politely dismissed;
Their age commands respect, if not their views.
But woe betide a parent with advice!
How condescending thinking to assist
Having not kept up to date, they accuse.
In response tongue-biting has to suffice.
When Theresa May picked up the baton Released by David Cameron’s folly She purged the posh with a single volley And necromanced the late Boris Johnson Just lately dispatched by Michael Gove, yon Cassius minus his lean and hungry Look, who she in turn returned rapidly To thoroughly deserved oblivion. Having raised the dead she raises her sights To a personal mandate, who cares that She said the opposite a year ago. Her lead of unimaginable heights Trumps all pretence of integrity, flat Out triumph and which voters will still know?
Handsome princes and monochrome swans ought
To dodge Theresa May’s tear pool now.
The right wing press proved unable to cow
Enough voters to win. Instead they thought
They’d teach humility to those who’d fought
To get ‘Strength and Stability’ somehow
Swapped with reasoned policy to allow
Theresa May the free hand that she sought.
The necromancer dries her eyes and checks
Her magic money tree. She chucks a bung
To Northern Ireland nutters, lays down her
Minions for her life and resurrects
Gove to re-inter Boris. Her forked tongue
Slithers, and everything is as you were.
Tories tried in vain to end her mission,
Instead adding one more year begging,
Hectoring, delaying, adhering
To office like gum stuck to the bottom
Of your shoe. When she said she’d be gone
To her political graveyard, selling
Memoirs that will big her up whilst shedding
No light on anything, her denouement
Failed too. A career marked by failures
Failed even to end. To maintain such
Consistency of employment without
Notable achievements simply beggars
Belief. There obviously isn’t much
Tory political talent about.
Five foot eight, eyes of blue and ears of tin.
Theresa May takes the Union flag
In vain as her speech’s back-drop. I gag
At her mendacity. She cannot win
The vote because there is no way to spin
Her deal other than as a rag bag
Of prejudices to make incomes sag,
Achieve the aims of Vladimir Putin
And consign the United Kingdom to
The dustbin of history when Scotland
And Northern Ireland depart, the one
As a free country, the other into
The South of Ireland, whence both will land
Back in the European Union.
Odd. Andrea Leadsom’s resignation
Proved to be the final straw. Rejoicing,
As happened with Raab and McVey stepping
Down seemed the way to greet her being gone.
Theresa May now soldiered gamely on
Presiding over farmyard squabbling
Amongst the creatures who were jockeying
For position during the marathon
Campaign to succeed her. Musical chairs
With the final say given to old white
Men was the arcane process. No women
Were seated when first came silence, who cares
They make up half the country? The birthright
Of Tory toffs will be restored to them.
Although one and a half million Leave
Voters from twenty sixteen have since died
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt vied
To lead this zombie army. They perceive
The dead don’t see the attempts to deceive
Them. Beyond reason, they can be relied
On not to recognise they have been lied
To more than any who truly believe.
And so we face the spectre of ‘No Deal’
As well as the march of the dead and
The living dead, clothed in the flag of saints.
‘Will of the People’ the liars squeal
Tory posh boys in a pretense to stand
For people left behind and their complaints.
Does their ‘ism’ have a soul that draping
Itself in the flag of its native land
Goes whispering in people’s ears and
Provides balm for those busy exploiting
Their fellows, solace for any scraping
By? Those with plenty hear “Life is grand!”
Those with nothing are dismissed out of hand.
Those with little: “Fear those with nothing!”
All are told “Accept your station in life.
The natural order is the misdeeds
Of the rich must quietly cause no scenes
Else class mistrust and division are rife.
From each according to the wealthy’s needs
To each according to their current means.”
Selling systematically is a numbers game. The first stage is prospecting, identifying possible customers, and you funnel your prospects through successively finer sieves until customers drop out the bottom.
As a book cover designer, your prospects are authors. Those who are currently looking for a cover are a small, hard-to-identify sub-set, and they may be perfectly happy with whoever designed their last cover.
On the other hand, authors who already have book covers are all who have published, and they are easy to find.
If you can persuade an existing author that their current covers are unsatisfactory, you both gain credibility from identifying the problem and you’re on the inside track to sell a solution, possibly for multiple books in one go.
So, you slag off all authors’ covers at every opportunity.
This approach is termed Provocation-based Selling, and it is touted as the panacea for economic downturns. On occasion, I’ve wondered about its applicability to book peddling. For instance:
“You don’t want to waste your time on that Charles Dickens. He believed in spontaneous human combustion. And he’s spent most of the last 150 years stone dead!”
Should you find yourself the recipient of such an approach, you should consider yourself no more favoured than were ‘The widow of the late General Sani Abacha’ to drop a request in your in-box for your help getting her husband’s ill-gotten gains out of Nigeria in return for untold riches.