Manifestos for dummies
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Manifestos are to politics what play-acting is to football: manipulatory.
Before publishing manifestos, politicians can say 'I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait and see what's in our manifesto'. This means that they can get headlines out of all sorts of tosh that would never have made it in there in the first place.
After publishing manifestos, politicians can say 'I think you'll find it's in there somewhere'. And by the time even the most nimble-fingered journalist gets to the relevant part, they're confronted with some ambiguous sounding 'aspiration' and the moment has passed. Plaid's 2007 offering is an exception, but that's because it's been written by brainwashed seven year-olds (see picture).
Manifestos are always costed but then given out for free anyway. This time around, the four main parties have a whopping 17 manifestos between them. That's the equivalent of five table football pitches.
Politicians have special manifesto thesaurses, with an enormous section under vague implementing stuff type verbs. Consequently, manifestos are full of phrases like 'We will support the development of X' or 'We will develop the support of Y'.
And even though whole parties stand on the basis of their manifestos, they are often written by just one person. So if we do get a Tory government after May 3rd, it will be the nearest thing ever to a dictatorship under David Melding.
Or perhaps not, because most manifestos are forgotten until a week before the next election, when the government has to frantically try and deliver some of its promises. But that's OK, because nobody remembers them anyway. Much like medieval battle re-enactments, manifestos aren't meant for normal people.
posted by Blamerbell @ 8:22 am,
- At 10:38 am, Glyn Davies AM said...
If we must have a dictator, there is no-one better than Melding
- At 3:09 pm, said...
You're probably right that no one remembers the content of manifestos. In fact you'd would struggle to find a citizen in the UK today, regardless of whether they are a consumer of daily news stories, who can recall any of the "we will" statements within Labours 1997 manifesto!. Not exactly light reading but in case you're wondering whether or not Labours promise in 97 lived up to expectations you'll find the full manifesto here
keep up the good work....
- At 5:19 pm, Marcusian said...
Its odd for my dissertation i had to look at the 1983, 1992 and 2001 labour manifestos and policy or political point notwithstanding its amazing how you could actually condense them down so much more really...
Perhaps each party should have one A4 piece of paper to make their points, ties in with the lives we all lead...I would do it in the style of a school doodle, so you can fit loads of things on it like drawing a loveheart with 'Labour loves Trident' or 'Blair woz ere b4 U Cameron' in it...
Maybe a shopping list- I can picture Cameron's now at the top you would have 'Policies'...
- At 7:12 pm, said...
That photo of a girl at the computer could also have a caption:
"Tad, what's the Welsh word for online paedophile"?
- At 8:15 pm, sanddef said...
Has anyone kept track of just how many manifestos we've had this year?
- At 9:41 pm, said...
That girl is a colleague's niece, and, as far as I'm aware, not a Plaid supporter. In fact she was tuned into webcameron at the very moment that photo was taken.
- At 10:49 pm, Blamerbell said...
"If we must have a dictator, there is no-one better than Melding."
You won't be saying that after the enabling act. Children to wear glasses even though they can see perfectly and quote sections of the Tory manifesto in school assembly... It could get nasty.
"you'd would struggle to find a citizen in the UK today, regardless of whether they are a consumer of daily news stories, who can recall any of the "we will" statements within Labours 1997 manifesto!."
Interesting: 1997, "We will end waiting for cancer surgery, thereby helping thousands of women waiting for breast cancer treatment."
Welsh Labour, 2001, "We will develop and implement a Cancer Plan for Wales, including commitment to achieve and maintain short maxi-
mum waiting times for diagnosis and treatment.
"Perhaps each party should have one A4 piece of paper to make their points, ties in with the lives we all lead"
Most people still wouldn't read it. If it were a postage stamp then perhaps...
"Has anyone kept track of just how many manifestos we've had this year?"
17ish not including the little parties. And they're not done yet.
"In fact she was tuned into webcameron at the very moment that photo was taken."
Nonsense. Nobody watches that anymore. It's all about Mike German's podcast.