With the election now widely assumed to be on May 6th, the campaign for Britain’s hearts and minds has really begun in earnest, although said campaign doesn’t seem to be working very well – that’ll be on all sides, but particularly on that of the current New Labour government – even before Tony Blair weighed in with his dubious backing of Brown.
For example, the recent budget (which may not even ever be fully implemented at this rate) can only be described as a prime example of New Labour desperation and a rather pathetic attempt at saving the government’s electoral skin. In fact, this governmental desperation is already at such levels that this year’s Guardian April Fool on Labour’s alleged new hard-man-vote-Labour-or-else election strategy actually came very close to being convincing. Scary.
And it’s only going to get worse. I had already received my first batch of election propaganda back in late February, and now, in early April, even more of this rubbish has started coming through my letter box at a steady rate – and the quality of it has got so bad that it would actually be hilarious if this election wasn’t so damn important.
Just like last time, the Tory propaganda was the first to arrive, complete with exactly the same set of slightly sinister photos of that identikit Tory blonde candidate we saw before. However, instead of their previous desperate attempts at politely begging the reader to vote Conservative, this time their desperation just seeps through the paper:
“How YOU can change the Government…
– David Cameron needs to win 117 extra seats to get rid of Gordon Brown and bring in a Conservative Government
– [This constituency] is one of these 117 MUST win seats.
– When the Prime Minister finally calls an election, you can use your vote to change the Government by backing the Conservatives and [this candidate].
… YOUR vote counts!”
I needed to wash my hands after reading that. The last Tory MP in this constituency was ceremoniously given the order of the boot in the 1997 election for being a bit rubbish, and I’m not convinced by either this current candidate or the intense neediness the Conservatives are showing this time round. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they don’t stand a chance round here – because the sitting MP is very likely to lose her seat in May; the only question being to whom?
And that Labour MP (or at least her secretary) must hate me. I’m one of those annoying constituents who attempt to actually make her do her job by bombarding her with emails and letters and postcards concerning the various causes and political issues I support. After all, and despite the fact that I didn’t vote for her, she’s supposed to be representing my interests as a constituent. Um. Apparently.
To give her (or her secretary) credit, I do have a large file of letters and reports she has sent in reply to my correspondence – which is why I was not surprised to receive not one but two campaign letters from her last week, personally addressed to me and in the same post.
I thought at first that this was simply a careless duplication on the part of her office, perhaps an inability to read a spreadsheet database properly or something. But no. When I actually sat down and looked at the letters, they were different. Sort of, anyway.
The only way I can describe it is that it seemed like someone had missed a few paragraphs when they were typing up the letter and it was too late (and too expensive) to trash the entire print run of the foreshortened version when they realised their mistake – so they just sent both versions out instead, for some inexplicable reason. You’d have thought that a sitting MP (especially one as mixed up in the expenses scandal as she was) would be a bit more on the ball with these things.
After a page detailing the usual high-minded policy plans, she reaches her conclusion. In words that appear to be straight out of the New Labour on-message script factory, she tells me that:
“This year’s election will be a big choice about the kind of future we want for Britain. It’s a choice between creating a future that is fair for all, or a Tory change that puts recovery at risk, threatens public services and makes life tougher for families – a change we can’t afford”
Choice? Choice!? There is little to choose between the main parties – we have no choice, and New Labour certainly haven’t created a “future that is fair for all” over the last thirteen years. I can’t see it happening now. More desperation, methinks. Not convinced by this one either.
And if you thought all that was unconvincing, then I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve left the worst until last. The Independent candidate standing in this constituency hasn’t quite reached my end of the borough yet, but a friend encountered her a couple of weeks ago and came away with a handful of badly written, badly typed, badly proofread and badly printed campaign materials which she passed on to me.
Despite standing for election on a platform which, admittedly, does have some positive policy suggestions for the local area, the opening sentence of this candidate’s leaflet blurb immediately sets off warning bells:
“My ambition to become an MP has been hampered by my choice to be an Independent”
Publishing a leaflet like this suggests that her ambition will be hampered for a little while longer yet – and surely there are better and more altruistic reasons to want to be an MP than simple ambition? Really badly worded. It’s really not a good start to anyone’s election campaign if you can’t do any better than to produce such an amateurish leaflet (and what are “yah-boo politics” please?), especially when you state several times in it that you have a political interest and professional background in education! It really doesn’t take very long to use a spelling and grammar check, and surely you know someone who can actually type? Dear oh dear.
*sighs and shakes head*
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!
Hat-tip to Rose :)