I’ve done a little bit on political mailshots before. Turns out there’s more fun to be had here.
I’ve recently moved out of London. The other day my mail redirection saw me get a copy of the booklet with the Mayoral candidates’ mini manifestos, ahead of May’s election.
Obviously, being mini, each candidate’s key policies and aims have been distilled into their simplest forms. It’s usually paired with a snippet of biographical information to make them seem relatable. In one case it’s paired with an inexplicable shot of the candidate giving a thumbs up, Photoshopped to be flanked by two women. I have no idea if I’m meant to recognise them.
The problem? In this format, a lot of the candidates sound even more alike than normal.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but based on the booklet, I think the candidates generally fall into one or two of three categories:
1) All things to all men.
Keen to emphasise how they were a) born in London, b) lived in London a long time, or c) worked there a while. Understands the problems with housing, transport etc. etc. Same old same old.
2) It’s not our fault!
Those candidates who pin all the city’s / country’s ills on immigrants. But how you can just blame immigrants for stealing jobs when shady business practices can put thousands of jobs at risk in a stroke is beyond me. Whatever.
3) This is an election?
Say what you will about the Women’s Equality Party and the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol candidates, they stand out as taking a bit of a different stance on things. Truth be told I’m kind of disappointed to see that a couple of the other more obscure candidates couldn’t, or didn’t, front the cash needed to get an entry, simply because I’d never heard of these groups before. It could have been an education.
If my other post rambled on about how someone… well… rambled on in an attempt to get elected, this booklet seems to be at the other end of the scale. Everything seems too clipped and too short.
In short, it seems like you need a really strong, clear, singluar purpose to get your point across and stand out in something like this. Which, I’d argue, is why group 3 caught my eye.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not picking political allegiencies here, just picking holes in the format. But it is kind of a sad state of affairs when blatant nationalism and thinly-veiled xenophobia doesn’t even stand out as being unusual anymore.
If I was going solely on the evidence as it’s presented here, I’d probably wind up voting for the “community-focused activist” with the mild obsession with weed. He seems like a decent chap who’s more concerned with fixing things than getting tough on one group or blaming another.
I’m not sure what that says about me, the political system, or both… but somthing doesn’t seem quite right.