You can tell it’s almost full-blown election season again.
For months, the newspapers have been full of the usual pre-election political squabbling over policy matters (and, this time round, there’s the added bonus of accusations of Prime Ministerial bullying) and the trashing of what little is left of any given opposing Honourable Person’s reputation, all undertaken in the desperate hope of just edging past one’s opponents in the polls.
Unsurprisingly, the inevitable satire campaign has been up and running for quite a while too, giving those of us of a more politically cynical persuasion some well-deserved amusement, particularly at the expense of the Tories and the incompetence of their election propaganda goons.
But then, yesterday, when the postman arrived, I finally knew that the campaign was officially beginning in earnest: the first set of election-related political literature dropped onto my doormat with the morning post.
Here we go again, I thought, and immediately reached for my laptop…
For a change, it is the Tories who have been quickest off the mark, producing a shiny, brightly-coloured, determinedly upbeat fold-out leaflet and an attempt at a fiercely self-important local newsletter; both featuring multiple images of an equally shiny, brightly-coloured and determinedly upbeat-looking thirtysomething identikit Tory blonde who insists she is “working hard” and “fighting” for “a change for the better” in the local area. Or something.
Here she is, at City Hall, smiling cryptically next to an amusingly bemused looking Mayor Boris. And here she is, smiling again and explaining “her commitment on expenses” to a stony-faced elderly local resident. Oh, and look! Here she is again, smugly smiling in a collection of snapshots picturing her with various members of the shadow cabinet, an MEP, William Hague, and assorted local Tory councillors.
And again, here she is with an enormous banner and representatives of the local league football club’s Community Sports Trust, showing us that she’s “supporting voluntary work in the community”, and with a load of photogenically cute primary school kids to demonstrate just how she’s “fighting the third runway at Heathrow” by engaging with those most affected by it.
These are indeed important issues, but the glossy leaflet comes across as just a tad smug and self-satisfied; as if the reader is to be lulled into a false sense of security and convinced that this candidate is indeed one of those caring, cuddly Conservatives (you know, the type that doesn’t actually exist).
I wasn’t convinced. I’ve seen all this before; it’s nothing new. And I was even less convinced after I turned the leaflet over and discovered the extra bonus message from none other than David ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron himself – and I hadn’t even had my first coffee of the day yet.
I can tell you that I really needed that coffee after reading Cameron’s description of the Tories as “the party of new jobs and new opportunities” (somebody’s got a short memory then), and that Dave the Rave is promising “hope for the future” under the tutelage of a Conservative government – as long as all us plebs remember that “every vote will count” in the upcoming election (read: “Please vote for us, please. Please. Oh go on, you know you want to…”).
Inevitably, there will be more of this junk coming through my letterbox as the weeks progress ever onwards towards the election – and naturally, I’ll be reporting on the exact quality of the rubbish provided by Britain’s political parties in their ever-more desperate attempts to persuade the electorate to turn off their tellies and actually vote for a change.
And all political parties need to be called out on their bullshit from time to time. Because, whatever information they choose to tell us and whatever image they attempt to project, it’s all spin. All of it. Such election literature is always propaganda trash and is thus quite obviously bullshit on any number of levels: no matter which party it comes from.
Anyway, it’s always fun to point and laugh at political bullshit – and, more often than not, the bullshitters deserve it.
And I love the smell of political embarrassment in the morning…
NB: No names, no pack drill. In the spirit of non-partisan fair play, equal rights to criticism for all, and because I refuse to do their campaigning for them, none of the candidates whose election literature I’ll be looking at on Another Kind Of Mind will be individually named. However, regular readers and those prepared to do a little Googling will not find it difficult to figure out to whom I am referring!