The Conservative party have, in their wisdom, put up three election posters on my route to work. I live in Southwark, the council with one of the largest proportion of council homes in the country, and Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat) has been the MP here for longer than most people can remember. The posters are surreal. One of them says something along the lines of “I mean, how hard can it be to clean a hospital?”, in handwriting font, with “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” as the strapline. Someone has added a big “Nope” to the poster. Another one says something like “How would you feel if your daughter was attacked by someone out on early release?”. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? What makes an attack by someone on early release worse than an attack by someone who has got out of prison having served their full term? Where is the emphasis on prison reform? Or should we just lock ’em up and throw away the key? Oh, and the third poster says “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration”. True, it’s not, but it is pretty nasty to dress those arguments up in ways that lead racist people to think you agree with their views. So, frankly, I’m not thinking what their thinking.
I’m getting really worried about the political slogans I’ve heard recently. I have no faith at all in a party who’s slogan is “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” (Conservative), who also boast on their website “Less talk, more action”. They get points for grammar, but not much else. But nor am I convinced by “Forward, not back” (Labour). Like, um, what? And the ‘Forward’ is in italics to really get the movement across. I get what they’re trying to say, but they get NO points for imagination. And forward to what? Lots of talk and no action?
All the parties have sorted out their websites of late. Labour very interestingly starts with a flash page with a huge picture of Gordon Brown which encourages you to sign up to their newsletter. Their homepage today has Gordon Brown and Michael Howard, but no Tony Blair. The only place I came across a picture of Tony Blair was on the Conservative’s website, along with some odd slogans that we’re meant to associate with Blair (along the lines of “I will kill babies”). Who says negative campaigning doesn’t work? Even the Liberal Democrats who, for years, have appeared to have no idea about online (and even now miss a few tricks) have their manifesto on their homepage. But “WE OPPOSE: Bush & Blair on Iraq. WE PROPOSE: Never again” doesn’t exactly suggest a solution for the future, does it? And I couldn’t find their slogan, which doesn’t bode well.
And the election hasn’t even been called yet. Oh, it’s going to be a fun few weeks.