A Manifesto

‘Change for real. Change for good’ is the lame slogan of the Liberal Democrats for their next election attempt. It’s rubbish on so many levels. For one, is ‘change for real’ even English? It doesn’t help that when written down it seems hard not to substitute it for ‘Change fo’ reals!’ as well. It’s easy to mock, and is ambiguous and vague enough to mean nothing but at the same time be wide open for any sort of interpretation one fancies. Basically it’s the perfect political slogan. It’s got me talking about it so I suppose it’s achieved something already, it has sparked debate. It’s missing a couple of crucial things though; namely honesty and fear. If I had to create a slogan for a political party it would be something along the lines of ‘Eh why not?’, ‘As if you could do any better’, ‘Someone’s got to do it’ or ‘How fond are you of your children… Vote for me.’ Something either bewildering honest in comparison to the oppositions ‘Change is nice’ crap or something with an unsettling sense of menace. Because the way I see it politics needs to be both completely transparent and terrifying to make anything work these days. Let’s make some wild and stupid changes with no ulterior motives other than we think it’ll work better and if anyone disagrees with us we threaten them with repercussions of violence, intimidation and endless televised Vanessa Feltz monologues (no cutaways, just Vanessa and a camera that slowly zooms further and further into her gaping mouth over the hour long speech. Think about that for a moment. Allow the true horror of the situation to sink in…)

But don’t get me wrong, these decisions we’ll make won’t be randomly selected policies created just to amuse ourselves. Although they may seem like that on the surface these directives will improve life as we know it. The terms New World Order and First Against the Wall are thrown around far too much these days (probably) but hear me out. The Intangible Menace Party’s ‘See-Through Alligator’ Manifesto (geddit? Transparent and terrifying… Yeah? Whatever…) will be baffling radical and radically baffling. Here are a few choice extracts.

On Parliament: Any speaker wishing to introduce some strange policy or debate existing ones must be willing to fight for it. Literally. If the debate gets too heated and is still going on after a certain pre-ordained amount of time, the head speaker can at will shout ‘FIGHT’ and at that point becomes the referee. The two speakers will wrap rope around their knuckles (because that looked cool as hell in Ong Bak) and will pummel each other over their beliefs. The fight goes on until one speaker cannot continue leaving the winner’s position on the policy or indeed his new policy as the one that will be acted upon. Don’t like the way things turned out? Challenge the winner! The best part? All televised live! That should sort out the problem of stagnant prime time television shows. No red-faced newspaper commentators will able to argue that the BBC television license is a waste of money with live House of Commons Deathmatches broadcast regularly. I know this system may seem needlessly violent and more than a little bloodthirsty but this way we’d only ever see policies enforced by people truly passionate about the cause. You won’t see a meek, slimy, scheming politician get his way through poisonous words and leaks to the press. If he doesn’t have the balls to step into the arena and fight for his party he gets nothing! If you’re still not sold on this just think about the possibilities for Prime Minister’s Question Time. I think you’re going to like this.

On Television: Having given the UK the greatest broadcast sensation to ever hit its shores where does the Intangible Menace Party go from there? Well first of all, no more reality TV. Just because. It’s a stale medium and needs to go. Off the back of that it also follows that ‘talent’ contests will have to go as well or they’ll have to at least undergo a serious retooling. No more celebrity judges, no sob stories or ‘oh mah gawd! She sings well but she’s ugly! How can this be!’ histrionics. Talent should be its own advert otherwise what’s the point. This should also help to stem the tide of oxygen thief hangers on, famous for doing literally nothing but walk and talk (and in some cases the latter is debatable). All new programming for all channels will be passed through a new governmental department of quality in broadcasting. There the various pitches will be scrutinised under strict criteria. Does it have a story? Does it have longevity without becoming boring or ridiculous? Will it be well-acted? Will it make the audience think? Does it have naked boobs involved? If the answer to all of these questions is a ‘yes’ then it gets the green light! The benefits of this process should be obvious and immediate.

On Football: One of the most radical of the party’s policies, all football players will have their pay reduced to that of your average shop assistant. Now we’ll see who really wants to play football and who just likes money. Frankly the sheer amount that top football players are paid is disgusting to the point of rage-powered projectile vomiting. This policy is designed to not only save the country, not to mention the world, billions of pounds but also it is an attempt to elevate the quality of the game and wipe out of existence the image of the super-privileged undeserving sportsman crashing his astonishingly expensive cars and generally flaunting his super-nova levels of smug bastardry in all our faces. All that will be left is the true sportsmen, the ones who really want to be there, who only ever wanted to play football without all the bullshit. They’ll still play for their clubs even on no more than £15,000 a year because they want to. The knock on effect will be that footballers will have to move back in with their parents to reduce the cost of living so they’ll all end up playing for their actual local clubs, leveling the playing field quite considerably. Football fans mourn not for the larger-than-life strikers of the top clubs (because they undoubtedly would all leave and show their true colours when they do) they were only holding us back. The focus will now be on the sport not the life behind the sport, honour will return to the stadiums now that only the faithful remain, there will never be a wider distribution of talent and we’ll be in power for like 2 months at best.

On the BNP: We at the Intangible Menace Party are all for free democratic elections, healthy competition, the right to free speech and all that good stuff but every time one of you fat, hate-filled pieces of filth opens your mouth we’ll quickly usher one wheelchair bound lesbian Muslim into the country. So shut the fuck up and go away already.

On Third World Debt: Abolish it. We’ll more than make up for it with the football thing.

On Pop Culture and Education: Pop culture is dying. It’s a horrible rotting carcass wherein we worship the truly deplorable and inherently pointless. Your magazines and papers and websites that are devoted to the act of celebrity watching and gossip will be destroyed and in their place will be things we deem to be more worthy. This will tie into education quite nicely as the ideal for young men and women to look up to will no longer be a stick think foetus pouting their way through the latest drug scandal on early morning Channel 4 shows (you know, for the kids!), it will be the intelligent and contemplative, politically aware grown-up. Basically Jeremy Paxman will be the new Jordan! You’ll think you miss the trash and gossip but eventually you’ll come to love the enforced readings and debates of the great political and philosophical works of our time until you’ve learnt the fractional amount you need to work out that we’re fascist bastards and need to be overthrown immediately. We’ll barely be in power but we’ll leave behind a twenty-first century enlightenment and that’ll comfort us when you line us up first against the wall for the firing squad.

DH.

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3 thoughts on “A Manifesto

  1. d says:

    Just a couple of quick points. Your arguments criticising political slogans is a self fulfilling prophecy about why there is a need for them in the first place. Your an extremely intelligent man yet instead of browsing the liberal democrats policies or recent statements where I am sure there are many policy promises or ideologies which are ripe for criticism or debate you instead choose the one line slogan. You rightly point out that by discussing the slogan that it has worked on some level, however look deeper into it.

    The Liberal Party has limited funds in comparison with Labour and the Conservatives who have the luxury of a network of wealthy donors who bankroll both parties (consider the future of the labour party recently if they hadn’t) & corporate interests who will happily loan expert staff on secondments during elections.

    The Liberal Party is left to fight a losing struggle of being unable to afford the volume of print/tv/internet advertising as their opponents whilst juggling the conundrum of whether to concentrate their small advertising revenue on strongholds or to try market the party thinly across the whole country. Therefore the Liberal Party has little choice but to try and rally round a slogan when faced with limited funds and an apathetic electorate suffering from intellectual inertia. All the Liberal Party policies are out there as clear as daylight. Electorates get out what they put in. If the majority willingly sit out of mainstream politics then you will be left with parties that have little choice but to go with lowest common denominator slogans.

    When considering fear in the political slogan I personally feel the Liberals slogan is fearful enough. In 1997 we apparantly had 24 hours to save the NHS & in 2001 we were preached the virtues of the golden rules of government finance and prudence that were laying down the foundations for long term economic prosperity & security. In 2004 we were told of reforms to transport, education with public private finance initiatives would have a galvanising affect on the country.

    Sitting here in 2009 I do not see any of the above to be even remotely true. The Conservatives had 18 unbroken years in power & now Labour have had 12 years in power. Could you honestly say either party in 30 years has reformed positively public services in this country in terms of cost to the taxpayer or services available?

    Finally consider this, which party has been widely praised by economic analysts & political writers for its reaction to the worst economic crisis in 80 years? Vince Cable the Liberal Democrats Economic spokesman has been widely praised for his prescient predictions in the run up to the Northern Rock crisis and his arguments for how Britian should deal with the global recession with regards to reform of public finance.

    Considering the domination of British politics over the past 30 years by Thatcher & Blair surely “Change for real. Change for good.” is less a slogan then a warning that electing Cameron or Brown will bring neither real change or a change for the better?!?

  2. davidhetherington says:

    All fair points but you can’t really consider this a fair and balanced critique of the Liberal Democrats and their policies can you? I was poking fun at their slogan and all slogans because I can’t stand political slogans. Despite what they are or what they represent I can’t help but cringe every time I hear one because I trust no politician or the lizards who spew up their snappy one-liners. I never once mocked the LibDems, just their terrible slogan.

    This isn’t an essay it’s a daft comedy piece on what I’d do if I ruled the country. Also I think I talked about some of the same things that makes you mad in my Politics Post last month. Cheers, food for thought and all that.

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