The lighter side of politics

by Stephen Tall on April 24, 2005

The 2005 general election will be remembered for, among other things (such as, of course, the Lib Dems forming their first ever government), being the first real internet election. Of course, people (or ‘pipple’ as Michael Howard would have us be) had access back in 2001. But not as many, and, besides, that election was just too unutterably tedious for words.

Here’s a selection of my personal highlights ….

Fun and games

Undoubtedly the best satire on the web I’ve yet seen is the cartoon production at www.gbjab.com – from the people who brought us the sublime ‘This Land is your Land’ spoof on the 2004 US Presidential race. It’s a non-profit election message for the people of the UK and deserves as wide an audience as can be gotten. There are also regularly updated spoof posters and pictures at www.spinon.co.uk. Slightly more serious – but only slightly – is Guido Fawkes’ blog, http://order-order.com

The ‘Basil Fawlty’ election

Commentators tell us this is the “Don’t mention the war” election. Not for much longer, I suspect. These two pictures illustrate how Mr Blair’s ‘For war’ stance just won’t go away.

GE05 Lab - For War posterWhat can happen when posters are pasted hastily…

GE05 TB - For WarMr Blair’s ‘For war’ manifesto. Does exactly what it says on the tin.

The Tories’ campaign

The creepy “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” campaign has been a gift to humourists. But does that mean it’s not working? I’m going to hedge my bets about the Tory campaign. I thought Karl Rove had called it wrong by focusing on George Bush’s core vote in 2004 – he instead proved himself an election strategy genius (though utterly warped). Will the Tories’ guru Lynton Crosby be similarly lauded come May 6th? I hope not, but don’t bet against it.

GE05 Tory - Sinking BelgranoThe old ones are the best.

GE05 - Tory vampire posterHarsh yet fair.

GE05 LD - anti-ToryI was very pleased, and slightly surprised, to see my party achieving a high level of wit with this dodo e-card. If you want to rile any of your Tory friends by sending it to them, just visit www.libdems.org.uk/support/postcard.html

GE05 - Matts PhotoshopMeanwhile, Tory candidate Ed Matts’ silly Photoshopping of a picture with Ann Widdecombe was a gift to Grauniad readers everywhere. This was my favourite emendation to the original.

So who should you vote for?

Any number of sites now offer you the chance to answer a few questions to help you determine which way you should vote. They are, of course, all complete rubbish – but fun nonetheless.

GE05 Who should I vote forwww.whoshouldyouvotefor.com tells me I should vote Lib Dem (bit of a relief that one), though, quite bizarrely, suggests I have UKIP sympathies. Even though I am pro-single currency and pro-EU constitution. Hmmm. Apparently I am least in sympathy with Labour.

GE05 FT - who to vote forThat is, until I turn to the Financial Times’ version, where I just sneak in as a Lib Dem voter, but am told explicitly I have Labour tendencies. Finally, www.publicwhip.org.uk/election.php identifies me as “fairly internationalist and rehabilitationist” – which is nice – but “very free market and pro-war” – which is not even half right.