Standard, Standard….


Nice piece by Matt D'Ancona in today's London Evening Standard which uses (very flatteringly) HERD to explain the (very sudden) rise of Nick Clegg into the mainstream of British Politics.

Here's the relevant bit:

"As Mark Earls shows in his brilliant book, Herd, [HURRRAH!] much behaviour that looks principled is in fact driven by peer-to-peer influence and social conformity. The "cellotaphs" of floral tributes to the late Princess, Earls demonstrates, were inspired by television images of the first bouquets : copycat behaviour rather than a spontaneous surge of emotion…[although not everyone agrees with this comparison]

…Nobody disputes that the Lib-Dem leader was the victor in the first debate. But the scale of his triumph has been amplified many times over the course of the weekend. People have chattered to people who have chattered to other people about his performance, and in the way of all folklore, the story has grown in the telling. A good television appearance has now acquired the status of the Gettysburg Address combined with the Sermon on the Mount. Infatuated with its new discovery, the elex=ctorate is willing on the Lib-Dem leader to live up to his image as Martin Luther Clegg

An infatuated girl does not care that her handsome new boyfriend is unreliable or did badly in his A-levels. this is why the Tories' attacks on Clegg's policies are a mistake and make the Conservatives sound stuffy and parental…The more the Tories say that Clegg's figures don't add up, the more appealing they make him seem"

The whole piece is here. It's smart and I happen think he's probably right on the phenomenon (and not just because he's HERDing it).

1 Comment

  1. tom
    April 21, 2010

    Very cool. I’ve always thought the more interesting applications of Herd were in government (and healthcare) than advertising/marketing.
    Good to see your thinking is getting some traction there… via journos, but it’s a start!