Election Propaganda: The Mayoral Edition

I have to admit that I’ve not really been paying much attention to the London Mayoral campaign this time around, unless you count the concentration required every time I’ve had to run the gauntlet of various campaign volunteers, all determined to get in my way and stick a leaflet in my ear as I speed past their smug little stalls and dodge and weave down the High Street between them and all those omnipresent chuggers.

This time round, it’s more like a bad B-Movie sequel than an election. Or something. I can almost hear Voiceover Man declaiming the title like a wrestling match up: ‘Aaaaand now… the Heavyweight Champion of London, Boris ‘The Bruiser’ Johnson takes on the challenger, ‘Red’ Ken ‘The People’s Champion’ Livingstone in a hardcore battle to the political death…’ Well, we’ve had George Galloway pretending to be a cat (once seen can never be unseen, let’s put it that way), so why not Boris and Ken as wrestlers? In leotards, of course. That could suddenly make the Mayoral campaign a whole lot more amusing.

But there’s no getting away from it, this time round it really is the Ken and Boris Show: Part 2 (And This Time It’s Personal) – and there appears to be nothing any of the other candidates can really do to get most of the mainstream media to take the slightest bit of notice of their campaigns (short of taking all their clothes off and dancing naked through City Hall whilst singing the Birdy Song, perhaps? That might get them a few more column inches, although not necessarily in the Right Sort of newspapers).

And, disappointingly, there was bugger all in the way of postal propaganda, either, making it even less likely anyone would even notice there were any other candidates in the first place. And this lack of electoral propaganda annoyed me for another reason – regular readers will be aware of my previous rants on the subject of rubbish political campaign materials. I was looking forward to more ranty propaganda fun, but I was sadly to be denied the pleasure at this election.

The only thing I received was the legally-required candidates/how to vote information booklet, which, typically, arrived through my door a day late. Or possibly even two days late, seeing as how the official London Elects website can’t seem to makes its mind up on the legally-declared delivery date. Inside the booklet, the double page spread for each candidate is little help in making a decision, being as they are the usual small masterpieces of meaningless soundbite politics.

I have, however, also seen Boris’s ‘9 point plan for a Greater London’ leaflet, which would be a jolly good laugh if I didn’t just so happen to live in London. Nothing from Ken though. Or even from the Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, or from the Greens’ Jenny Jones – which might possibly go some way to explaining why they’re standing at a mere 7% and 3% respectively in the final opinion poll – that and the media hysterics over Boris and Ken.

Personally, I’m not that big a fan of Ken Livingstone – but I like Boris Johnson even less. And I’m hoping against hope that my fellow Londoners have remembered that they are voting for the best candidate for the office of Mayor, not for the best candidate for the office of being a bumbling frizz-haired quiz show host who’s sort of quite amusing and harmless. Because Boris is not sort of quite amusing and harmless.

He’s a Tory. He’s a Tory with everything that goes along with the very nature of being a Tory. And if you’ve been paying attention to recent British politics, you’ll know that this is a Very Bad Thing Indeed. In my opinion, Boris is not what London needs – but, conversely, are any of the other candidates? Who knows, because, quite frankly, none of them stand a chance…

Welcome to the Boris and Ken Show, London.

We can only hope that this opinion poll is, like so many of its predecessors (1992, anyone?), very wrong…

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One comment

  1. Pingback: parody on the language of propaganda: “that should be different, too!” « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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