if all this dosh produces this kind of tosh … #roadtoruin

Tories' road to ruinThe Guardian reports this evening that Tories will outspend Labour in the upcoming general election by a factor of three to one.

If the poster on the left is anything to go by – I analysed it here earlier in the day whilst the selfsame Guardian also did here – I think at least two observations will need to be made.

Firstly, if a factor of three to one buys only this level of marketing, Labour shouldn’t fear too much the impact that the Big Money the Tories supposedly wield will have on its chances.  In fact, it does lead one to wonder if there aren’t serious questions around a wider Tory competence: if all this dosh produces this kind of tosh, how on earth can they be expected to run a country?

Secondly, the Guardian analysis which references Merkel’s “Die Mitte” campaign is interesting.  In truth, the use of the Union Flag produced a design dilemma impossible to resolve.

Hoisting the union flag

Wikipedia Commons

They either hoisted on the right and alienated the left or hoisted on the left and alienated the right.  The blessed “Die Mitte”, in this case, in this very British iconography, simply wasn’t an option for the design team.

By the by, that also says something, surely, about our deeper-rooted parliamentary principles of opposition dynamics.  (But to explore this point would take up a whole separate post and a half in itself.)

In the end, as you can see, they opted for hoisting on the left.  A curious choice, when push came to shove.

Now it’s true, as Tories themselves often observe, that when you have such amounts of dosh to lavishly splash, you often end up misspending what you might have used far more wisely.  Just as much as this may happen in government, so also in election campaigns.

Let’s hope in this respect, and I say this with my partisan hat on, that they will deliver!

Where the Tories have managed to be far more frugal in their campaign spending government information is in their casual (coincidental, of course) juxtaposing of this UK road movie poster launched today with an allegedly unconnected and quite breathless announcement from the DVLA just before New Year that proud British motorists would now be able to wear their Union Flags on their driving-licence photocards.

This announcement’s tone fair exhausted me when I first read it earlier this evening:

Anyone applying for a new licence or changing their personal details will be issued with a licence showing both the British and European Union flags.

The changes will apply to motorists in England, Scotland and Wales and provide road users with a symbolic sign of their national identity.

Transport Minister Claire Perry said:

“People in this country rightly take pride in our national flag which is why I am delighted it will now be displayed on British driving licences.

“Celebrating Britain strengthens our sense of national identity and our unity. I will feel proud to carry my new licence and I hope others will too.”

Goodness me.  Yes.  So doesn’t that chime wonderfully with today’s tarmacked road to progress?

I never realised the Department for Transport’s mission was actually to transport its clients into the Seventh Heaven of patriotic fervour!

For whilst I’m all for sensibly inclusive identity politics, putting our Union Flag on our driving licences in creepily enthusing government agency and ministry PR, just about the same time that the Tories dish out an election poster with the very same imagery on a highly politicised and questionable road of achievement … well, it doesn’t half seem like the kind of joined-up governance which would have made life so much easier in the last four years or so, if only Cameron had managed to be as focussed at governing the country as he clearly wants to be in his second attempt to win his first election.

In its absence, of course, it’s just an example of the kind of tawdry appropriation of government resource that shameless political parties engage in when they start to pull out the election stops.

Poor show, that man and that woman, eh?  Please do better next time.

And do run along now, will you?

You’ve got an election to lose.

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