If there was to be a list of core competences for political parties, communication would have to be up there in the top three.
For a lot of the time, politicians seem to be keen to justify what they're doing and the positive/negative impact it's going to have on our lives. And every few years - more often in Northern Ireland - parties go through a focussed period of pleading with voters to choose them above the other parties on the ballot paper. It's all about communication.
Of course, party manifestos often bear little relation to the democratic body they're seeking election to - eg, very little mention of Europe in most of the NI party literature last June. And given that few NI parties end up in control of an institution, individual parties often have little influence, and there is therefore little match-up between the manifesto promises and the decisions taken.
But back to communication.
If you were a relatively new party, aiming to capture the hearts and minds of East Belfast voters by holding a public meeting, would you leave the time off the press release?
TUV - nul points ... pour la communication.
And that's before the questions about why they've chosen to have a public meeting in an Orange Hall, whether they're paying the market rate to use the premises and what people will perceive about the links between the Orange Order and the TUV. However, answers to those questions and more should probably be discussed over on the thread on Slugger O'Toole.
Oh, and the public meeting's at 8pm.
Update - through the TUV website Contact Us, I did ask about the time and the venue - but a day later, no reply. Funny, didn't get any reply the last time I asked something. David Vance - who very publicly joined the TUV recently and is tipped to be announcing tonight that he'll
run for them in East Belfast be the new party spokesperson - did however give some replies on Slugger:
[Gerry Lvs castro] Just to put this in context, the only orange hall most people in NI (including many Unionists) have ever set foot in is the one in the Folk Museum. If ‘all are welcome’ would a more neutral venue such as a hotel not be more likely to gain you a wider audience?
[David Vance] If unionists are unhappy to enter an Orange Hall then that is going to have to be a risk we take. I do understand your point and it is fair enough but we are where we are and as best I understand no one is required to wear a Sash.
Further Update - The TUV did issue (on Thursday) a subsequent press release listing the start time, but still didn't update the previous one on their website.