Propaganda

Or 'if you don't vote yes you think voting should be unfair, you democracy-hating monster'

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen that I received a lovely piece of propaganda today. It was a letter from the ‘vote yes’ campaign regarding the upcoming referendum over changing our voting system from First-Past-the-Post to the Alternative Vote. Like all good propaganda it told me to do a certain thing and gave me subjective reasons for doing so. It did not give me any real information with which I could form my own opinion, although it did back itself up with the peer pressure of celebrities by using about a third of the available space to present photos and quotes of those supporting their campaign. I did hope for more substance in these quotes but they pretty much mirrored the ‘vote yes or you think politics should be unfair’ taunt obviously targeted at those with profound mental retardation

Suffice to say I was not impressed.

If you want me to vote a certain way, at least give me some information about what I’d be voting for. Do not dumb down the issue to the point that it becomes mere opinion. It’s insulting. We are not all idiots. We can handle information of a level slightly higher than the absolute basics.

If you refuse to do this, at least direct me towards an unbiased website, or other source, for further information that will in fact be information.

We are being force-fed far too much propaganda in today’s society and no-one seems to notice or care. This is not the first time I have had a campaign letter that has simultaneously insulted my intelligence and trivialised an important issue. The Lib-Dems junk-mail of a campaign letter was the most meaningless, offensive thing I have ever had through my letter box. They might as well have posted a poo with a ‘vote lib-dem or you smell like this poo’ post-it attached.

I think we should ban campaign mail altogether. The government should issue an unbiased group to publish an informative leaflet about electoral reform, exploring the two voting systems in some detail, with a case study or two of how the Alternative Vote works in other countries to get a bit of an understanding of how it might work in reality and the arguments for each. I’ll do it if they want. For free. Yes, I said ‘for free’. That’s how much I care about this.

So if I do vote ‘yes’ for the Alternative Vote, it will have nothing to do with your campaign. It will, in fact, be in spite of it. Just like when I voted Lib-Dem. Although, that didn’t really work out too well… I should have known from that campaign letter that they had no real substance and never did and were always just trying to give people what they wanted in a selfish swipe at power.

Anyone else care to comment?

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2 thoughts on “Propaganda

  1. “The government should issue an unbiased group to publish an informative leaflet about electoral reform, exploring the two voting systems in some detail, with a case study or two of how the Alternative Vote works in other countries to get a bit of an understanding of how it might work in reality and the arguments for each.”

    Errrm, unbiased group??? Ah yes, I think I met a few of them, ON THE MOON! 😛

    Also, case studies on other countries are difficult, since the political dynamic is undoubtedly different. For example, in Australia, despite having AV, they only really have two parties, so it’s pretty much irrelevant.
    Here we have two big parties, one smaller party (who everyone hates and will never vote for again until we have Clegg’s head on a stick, surrounded by a sea of burning copies of the Orange Book), and three much smaller parties. One of which quite a lot of people like quite a lot and quite a lot of people really dislike (UKIP), an even smaller one who a few people like quite a lot and a few quite dislike (the Greens), and an even smaller one who a few people love and the vast majority of the public HATE HATE HATE (the BMP). Do any other countires have AV and that landscape. Nope.

    (By the way, if my description of the landscape is right, then it means that Labour and the Tories will both lose seats (especially the Tories, since most lib-dem voters are more likely to put Labour and Liberals as their first two choices). If people have stopped hating the Lib dems then they’ll gain a fair amount (but we’ll still hate them, so who knows!) UKIP may gain some. The greens will get loads more votes, but few seats, but hopefully that’ll boost them in the long term. And the BMP won’t have an icecubes hope in hell of ever getting a seat, since there’s far more than 50% of people in single every constituency note fucking insane enough to dream of voting them.

    But, if we get AV then that landscape will massively change, especially over the long term: smaller parties have a chance to grow since we can register our support without throwing away our vote, and parties will be able to more safely split without being annihilated (apparently if we’d had AV back in the days of Thatcher she’d never had got power. The left had recently split so their vote was split, so she got loads of votes.)

    This is useful:

    Also, it’s worth noting that the vote no campaigning has been even worse (I think — I’ve not seen the “Yes” literature, so I dunno). Things like, “vote no, or we’ll kill a baby”. True fact:
    http://goo.gl/lvCzS

    • OK, so it’s impossible to be completely unbiased, but someone not directly involved in the campaign for either side would help, right? Or at least an equal mix of people supporting both sides.

      As far as looking at other countries – it’s not perfect but surely it gives some idea – it’s better than just thinking about it in theory, right?

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