There have been weeks and weeks of phony electioneering and, finally, this morning Gordon Brown has told the world what we already knew – the election will be on 6th May.
From the negative electioneering of mashed up, satirical posters, to the dusting down of the old Saatchi creative team – to deliver up what Cameron’s mob hope to be a coup de gras to Labour (as was done under Thatcher) – its been a long and spectacularly phoney war; one that has, alarmingly, only focused on the media process.
Now, with even more spin and blather lined up to cover over the front pages with its own mutated brand of primordial goo, we get Sam and Dave via webcam, at home in their designer kitchen, the fertile photogenic young couple whom the Tories hope will get them over the winning line. Basically, another lump of undigested PR hype posited for the Westminster Village elite as the media heralds the election date and the gears of war grind into place.
Never before, however, have there been more examples and more critique of the marketing, PR and advertising that goes into an election campaign. As various party marketing grandees fumble with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and guerilla marketing, they fail to grasp that the key issue is going to be whether the great unwashed are actually going to get off their backsides and vote.
The real state of politics is that the nation is utterly disillusioned with the process of power, the government and the corrupt politicians. No matter what the politics, PR and spin are ubiquitous and as a consequence we all mistrust politicians, especially in power. Whether it’s an interesting use of social media or pushing forward a political wife, none of the parties have, to date, proffered any real policies for the electorate to judge.
All we have been given is the slew and spew of marketing and a welter of PR blather. The papers spend more time commenting on new and old media tricks being employed to propel the parties into power than they do on what actually matters – policy!
Have the collective efforts of all the political parties to sell politics been a distraction that has hypnotized a nation? I would say yes, as we have seemingly given in to the Machiavellian forces, hired media hands and the strategies last employed by Obama that will lead each TV debate. This constant distraction and the media obsession with personality politics leads us further away from the real and pressingly urgent issues which are what we should be voting for.
Its an interesting start to the election and leaves me wondering: do the public believe in the theatre of politics at all any more?
Do they believe in the clusters of smiling supporters hanging off their leaders’ every word whilst the hapless media ruck is ignored? Or Cameron’s one man road show bouncing off the walls? Or Gordon’s team greeted en masse by clapping, grinning party faithful? Or slick, formulaic Cameron making speeches with his white shirt sleeves rolled up in an attempt to demonstrate his youth and vitality? The boyish Clegg photographed with Saint Vincent Of Cable?
I am breathless: its day one and already there’s been stunt after stunt, photo opp after photo opp – both Brown and Cameron more shamelessly proactive than Katie Price.
Please please keep it up! I just can’t wait for the TV debates next week…