Friday, 9 April 2010

David Cameron, The Guardian and the "Magic" of Demographics

With the UK Election 2010 already turning into the single, most critical subject to bore the pants off us all it seemed like the perfect topic for me to turn my attentions to. And my first stop, you'll be delighted to know, is David Cameron (Conservative leader in case you've been living on the moon, or outside the UK, or in a blissful utopian land where there is no need for him to exist in the first place) and, more specifically, the piece he has written for the Guardian. And boy is it FOR the Guardian. 

I confess that I am a Guardian reader and therefore just the sort of wishy-washy, spineless liberal that this article was aimed at. All our favourite topics are there, along with all the right buzzwords to have us weeping, emoting, empathising and wailing. Hand-wringing across the readership must have been at fever pitch from the off with this little gem from the opening paragraph:

Gordon Brown heaps taxes on the poor, blocks plans to improve gender equality, allows rape crisis centres and special schools to shut.

Second sentence in and we've already got taxes, the poor, sexism, rape and special schools! He goes on to call Brown "reactionary" and "illiberal" and slags him off over ID cards, education, health and detention without trial. To quote David again..."the list is endless". 

At times, it certainly felt like it David. Because a list is all this article is. Nothing is explained, expanded upon or remotely insightful. Concept after concept is used as a mere trigger as if the liberal brain is no more sophisticated than a lab rat trained to recognise coloured buttons; education = good = David Cameron. It is formulaic and devoid of anything to really believe in or identify with. It's hollow. So much so, that if I owned any text to speech software I'd have been tempted to run this article through it to see what it sounded like with added warmth and sincerity.

It is now de rigueur for me to point out that this is what politics has come to. But seriously, it is. It reads like a series of tick boxes designed to tick off a box on the Conservative campaign list that would lure us in to ticking the tory box on 6th May! Really, have demographics EVER proved to be the magic formula for understanding people? Who has ever had to fill in a form or a questionnaire and thought, "why, that's me to a tee. I can now rest easy that I have been fairly and accurately represented." I doubt anyone could ever recognise their own form again and consequently, their own self. 

Behind all these words and soundbites are aspects of people's lives and serious matters that they have deeply felt beliefs on and experiences of. Therefore, behind these words would a real opportunity for a politician to communicate and even inspire some much needed faith in the public. Drop the profiling, start caring. Should it be necessary to point this out? 

David says that "as Conservatives, we trust people". It is a shame that he didn't trust us enough to spot when cynical manipulation takes the place of our own, personal values. 

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