Tuesday, 24 November 2009


I've been asked to participate in a local BBC discussion at the end of the week about whether politicians should express opinions on popular culture and reality TV shows. Answer: yes, if they actually watch them; no if they don't. (And Gordon does watch the X Factor, btw).

Having been without a TV for the past two months in either place of abode, and without a fully-functioning laptop for most of that time too, my experience of X Factor this year has amounted to little more than wishing people would talk about something else on Twitter on a Saturday and Sunday night, but even I have not been able to entirely avoid the cultural phenomenon that is Jedward.

Which brings me nicely back to politics. As discerning readers will spot - eyes right - the Labour Party did a little Jedward spoof a week or so ago, with Cameron and Obsorne dressed up as the delightful duo. "You won't be laughing if they win"... indeed. Which worked because Cameron and Osborne are callow and inexperienced, and are often to be found dressing up in red vinyl and practising the dancesteps to 'Oops I did it Again' in their Westminster office.*

Cue earnest questions from some hacks about whether this 'marked a return to negative campaigning' and a marked lack of humour from some Tories, who then found it absolutely hilarious when Tory HQ nicked our idea and created the 'Deadwood' posters. And a small case of egg on the face for a certain Tory blogger whose response to suggestions that Labour might be rolling out a Davorge poster campaign was as follows:

"But I doubt very much if Labour is launching any such campaign, mainly because it can't afford to. No political party worth its salt spends any money on poster campaigns any longer. They don't need to, because marketing can be done virally, for free."

Yes, in this modern new media world, no need to waste the Ashcroft millions on poster sites, is there Iain? No need for huge billboards at:

M4/A4 Great West Rd, W4 5QL (the prestigious Torch site)
400 Edgware Road, Victory Park, NW2 6JP
79B Tottenham Court Road, W1T 4DU
Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, NW3 3HY
Hanger Lane, Ealing Common, W5 3HJ
608 Western Avenue, W3 0TE
214 New Kings Road, Fulham, SW6 4XD
North End Road, junction of Cromwell Road, W14 9ES
A4 Showcase, Great West Road, W6 9AR
Kew Bridge, Chiswick High Road, W4 3AZ
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1 6LW
Marriot Hotel, Cromwell Road, SW5 0QD
Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall Cross, SW8 2LF
Westminster Bridge Road, Baylis Road, SE1 7XG
323 Lower Richmond Road, TW9 4PL
Prices Candles, York Road, Wandsworth, SW11 2SJ
59-65 Harrow Road, Paddington, W2 1JH
45 Whitechapel Road, E1 1DU
218 Old Street, City Road, EC1V 9HE.

These are Tory 'Deadwood' poster sites, in case anyone is confused. Further proof, were it needed, that CCHQ really doesn't 'get' new media, even if Iain Dale does.

* To pre-empt the inevitable mockrage from Tory Bear and cries of "smear!" I hereby apologise profusely if I have inadvertently suggested that David Cameron and George Osborne dress up and do Britney Spears dance routines in their office. I have no evidence to support my vile accusation and I am deeply sorry for the distress this will have caused sensitive Tory Party activists. But they are a Wham consisting of two Andrew Ridgeleys. You can't argue with that.


Sue Bailey said...

"a Wham consisting of two Andrew Ridgeleys"

PMSL. Spot on.

scott said...

That may be so, but from reading ConHome, most of the tory commentators weren't that impressed either.

On a plus side, their poster was better 'shopped than yours! :P

Anonymous said...

This silly stuff doesn't reflect well on either party.

On the wider issue of commenting on popular culture politicians have as much right as anyone to comment,but should restrict their comments to things they actually know. Pretending to like bands they don't or watch programmes that they don't to appear human, hip or in touch is just embarassing.

Alfred said...

Re. Wham, when they first arrived in the charts I thought they were a trio - George, Michael and Andrew Ridgley.

I'll get my coat.

Steven_L said...

I'd just like to say how reassured about the state of the nation's finances I am to learn that Gordon watches the 'Xfactor'.