Thursday, 24 February 2005
Now everybody do the propaganda
er...in a word? No.
At least, I don't think so. Unless you were thinking that you would rather gouge out your eyes with a blunt pencil and insert red hot coals up your own fundament than vote for the Conservative Party at the next election, or indeed, ever. Is that what you were thinking? No? Didn't think so.
There is going to be a General Election this year at some point. Everybody knows it. Because the Government has not formally announced the date, thus officially kicking off the election campaigns, we are having to endure a kind of phoney war, with all of the parties lining up to creep their key policies out into the public domain. The other week the Prime Minister and the Chancellor travelled around the country in a helicopter announcing the key policies that will form the main planks of their manifesto, and the other main parties are following suit.
This particular item has appeared on billboards across the country, and is part of the campaign to encourage the Great British Public to vote for the Conservative Party.
In one way, I suppose you have to take your hat off to them. It's a snappy slogan, isn't it? "Are You Thinking What We're Thinking?" It will stick in the memory, certainly. Snappier than the Labour party equivalent: "Britain is working: don't let the Tories wreck it again". The stark black and white of the poster really catches the eye too.
It's vile isn't it?
Leaving aside the fact that they are playing squarely at the racist instincts and fears of the British voters, I don't like the slogan. There's something of the playground about it. It sounds smug and bullying at the same time. I think it should be said with a wink and a leer.
"We're daring to think the unthinkable. Are you thinking it too?"
There's almost an implication of: "We think England is for the English. If enough of you vote for us, and not those idiots from the BNP or the UK Independence Party, then we'll be able to kick them all out"
I expect nothing less of the Conservatives.
What else have they got up their sleeves?
Oh, the usual...
- Keep the pound
- Oppose the European constitution
- Spend more on our armed forces
- Annual limit on immigration
- build more prisons
- cut back political correctness
And so on, and so forth. Blah blah blah.
Here are some of the other poster slogans:
"What's wrong with a little discipline in school?"
"Put more police on the streets and they'll catch more criminals. It's not rocket science is it?"
"I mean, how hard is it to keep a hospital clean?"
How stupid must they think we are? Please tell me no one will fall for this drivel?
The Labour party are a bit better:
- Your family better off
- Your child achieving more
- Your child with the best start
- Your family treated better and faster
- Your community safer
- Your country's borders protected
I'm not too fond of that last one, but otherwise at least it is taking a positive spin on what the Government are pledging to do, rather than focusing on what they will stop. It's a bit less, well, about HATE.
Maybe all this really says is that the Conservative Party are aiming squarely for the votes of the great unwashed (assuming they can read the posters - maybe they should have stuck to simple cartoons?) and the Labour party are pitching themselves at the middle class majority.... people like me. They have no doubt focus-grouped all the issues, and know exactly how to spin them.
I find the whole thing so depressing.
I don't like Michael Howard. I remember when he was Home Secretary under the last Conservative government in the early 90s. It will be a cold day in hell before I cast my vote for a party with him as leader.
That's not to say that my vote is in the bag for the Labour party either. Don't think I've forgotten about the way we went into Iraq. The way we have shamelessly prostrated ourselves in front of Bush's America, only too eager to act as a figleaf to his ignorant and oppressive unilateral agression. Don't think either that I've forgotten about the way that my basic rights as a citizen of this country are being eroded away in the name of "home security".
I haven't forgotten.
I suspect my vote will count for nothing. We have a first past the post electoral system, and I live in a seat with a comfortable conservative majority, and a comfortable MP.
It's great living in a democracy isn't it? We should take this system around the world and offer it up to all other nations as the BEST way to run a country. Actually. It's the ONLY way to run a country, if you want to do it properly. Hey look! The USA had an election recently, and they had a clear winner with a massive popular mandate of a few thousand votes in a few key states. And now he's the most powerful man in the world! cool!
Come on in Iraq! Come on in Iran! Come on in North Korea! The water's lovely!
The worst part is that they haven't even started their campaigns yet.