Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Toxic horsemeat and Trekkies

I've nothing in particular against Liberal Democrat councillors. They didn't sign the coalition agreement and they may well be lovely people, doing good things in local communities. According to our latest local Lib Dem flyer, our lot have successfully 'fought the Conservative run Council's proposals to scrap grit bins', had a pedestrian crossing built at a sensible place in our road (check - I can see it from where I'm writing) and, following complaints from residents in one of the roads coming off ours, they've had a new "no through road" sign put up. Maybe councillors with different affiliations would have done similar things, but I'm happy to give them the credit for actually having got them done.

And then they go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like 'I love you':
It's a 2 horse race on 22nd May. The local election on 22nd May is between the local Lib Dem Focus Team candidates and the Conservatives. Labour has come third in this area for many years. A vote for any candidate other than the Lib Dems could let the Conservatives in.

This may be true in terms of the local electoral arithmetic and tactical voting, but if you actually wanted to toxify your own brand in one short message, then that message would be 'why not vote Lib Dem to keep the Tories out?' [long pause to let the bitter laughter subside]:
Apologies for including another party political broadcast, especially a negative attack ad, but this one does hit the nail on the head (even if it doesn't seem to be doing Labour much good - maybe they should have saved it up for the general election).

It must be terribly depressing to be a progressive Lib Dem at the moment, whether you're looking down at the grit bins, or up at the stars:
In order to be certain, we then ran an analysis of the 100 TV programmes that are most particularly favoured by supporters of each of the three main parties. Sure enough, while only 2 of Conservative voters’ and 6 of Labour voters’ top 100 TV shows are related to science, science fiction or the supernatural, it is 17 of the Lib Dem top 100. The full results will be published next week, but in case you’re wondering the list includes Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Futurama, Being Human, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tomorrow’s World.

Is this evidence of the Liberal Democrat ability to think big, and imagine a better world in the future? Is it true that “Science Fiction is a crutch for people who can’t handle reality”? Or is it the other way round...
Freddie Sayers of YouGov

My take on this is that a preference for science, SF and fantasy is evidence of an enquiring mind and a welcome ability to imagine alternatives to the tyranny of the zeitgeist (even if a lot of science fiction and fantasy is really about current issues, rather than distant planets and dragons, it's still an analysis or critique of the present, rather than mere dumb acceptance of the status quo). Of course, not all Sci Fi and fantasy has a progressive agenda, but Freddie Sayers has evidence that Lib Dems like the stuff that does:
It all started in May last year, when we ran a survey on Star Wars and Star Trek. Asked which series they prefer, the country as a whole narrowly prefers Star Wars (29% to 27%). But Liberal Democrat supporters buck the trend, with 36% preferring Star Trek and 20% preferring Star Wars.
As commentator Martin points out:
That Star Wars and Star Trek poll is interesting. Star Trek is basically a manifesto of progressivism. It is an idealistic world of diversity, open borders and no religion where money and capitalism are bad while government and science is good. I would have thought the conservatives would absolutely adore Star Wars, which is basically a gang of old school heroes (Han Solo the cowboy, Leia the Princess, and our hero, the quite Jesus-like Luke) going up against big government with nothing but spiritual faith and a great sense of missing the good old days of the Old Republic. It seems to me like Star Trek is explores the same world John Lennon dreamed about in 'Imagine', while there is really no wonder Reagan embraced Star Wars imagery and mythology in combatting the evil Soviet Empire.
But yeah, this basically is no surprise when you consider that much of sci-fi fits in with the Lib Dem attitude and psyche.
It must be an enormous bummer to be a progressive in a party with leaders who have abandoned the dream of boldly going where no one has gone before by joining the Dark Side and propping up a party for people who'd rather live a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.


Update - if you didn't like the two party political broadcasts I've embedded, I suggest you feast your eyes and ears on the Worst Party Political Broadcast Ever. It's by the English Democrats, (a sort of cut-price, Celt-free version of UKIP) and looks like something slapped together by the English Tourist Board on an off day, intercut with shots of a bloke in a field holding up cards with various xenophobic slogans and statues of  the great and good from the Michael Gove list of approved English heroes, all set to an acoustic dirge, apparently performed by Billy Bragg's evil right-wing twin that goes:
Build a pride,
Hear the call,
From Land's End to Hadrian's Wall,
This is England,
The land of Saint George 
Hat tip to Tom Pride, who embeds the whole atrocity here.

Update 2 -Interestingly, the local Conservatives have just delivered their leaflet, in which they also claim credit for the local grit bin/pedestrian crossing triumph. I might be tempted to try and find out which of the twio parties is lying to me,* if there was a snowball in hell's chance of me voting for either of the above. Which there isn't.

*Of course, there's a third possibility, namely that both parties had a hand in delivering these things, in which case, they're both telling half-truths (or half-lies, if you're a glass half empty person), by claiming all the credit. If this is the true scenario, then the Lib Dems come out as slightly bigger liars than the Conservatives, by virtue of not only claiming all the credit for the grit bins, but claiming that the nasty Conservatives would have taken them away. But I'm way too swiched off by both parties to care which one is telling the biggest fibs in this case.