Well, your favourite lupine blogger is back from holiday, and a very nice time I had indeed.
I was in Florida where I spent the time riding rollercoasters, eating unfeasibly large burgers and generally behaving like a big kid, it was excellent. The place was in uproar as petrol has almost hit $4 p/gallon (gone over $5 in California) and a packet of smokes costs about the same. Poor darlings, I’d swap with them in a heartbeat.
The big news over the other side of the pond at the moment is, of course, the imminent Presidential election, there are also elections looming for the national and state legislatures, and these elections dominate the advertising on TV. I watched these adverts with a sense of disbelief. The same adverts were shown time and time again, the only other things being advertised were local car dealerships and adverts for pharma products where they say how wonderful their product is before going on to list every side effect. I must say I wasn’t going to go out and get their product prescribed on the strength of those adverts.
As an aside, it has never failed to amaze me that the whole country appears to be on medication for something, and that the pharma companies seem to spend an inordinate amount of cash in getting the patient to petition their doctor to put them on one drug or another. I’m no great fan of the NHS, but at least we’re spared that, and it makes me fear for Obamacare if this attitude of medication on demand is coupled with rampant consumerism surrounding medicines. I don’t know if prescription drugs are free or subsidised under Obama’s healthcare plans, but if they are it’ll be a week before the US is as broke as Greece.
Anyhow, back to the political adverts. In the just under a fortnight I spent in the country I did not see one advert, either for president or for one of the other offices, that actually asked the viewer to vote for the person who was behind it. Every single one was an attack on the opponent. In the local posts there were accusations of nobbling the junket budget, gross hypocrisy, changing of laws to allow the legislator to take the best personal advantage, etc. One of them spoke about how this bloke was something to do with Hooters, and portrayed him as a guy who had regular fist fights, was perpetually drink driving and was meaner to policemen than a Tory whip.
If you are working class then Romney is going to screw you over, if you are wealthy then Obama is going to screw you over, and if you are in the middle then your arse is going to be red raw as they both give you a damn good seeing to.
Not one of these campaign adverts featured a bloke standing for Congress saying ‘Hi, I’m Angus Slawotczyk, and I stand for x, y, z and want to do a, b and c’. Indeed none of them even mentioned who the advert was supporting until the very end when a garbled message would say ‘I’mangusslawotczykandiapprovethismessage.’ Well you know what? My response to those adverts was ‘if you approve that shit then there’s no way in the world I’d vote for you.’
Given the litigious nature of things over the Atlantic I have no doubt that there is a kernel of truth in the accusations (although one of the things referenced in tiny print on one of Romney’s adverts was quoting a document that was published in 2004, so how that can be relevant to Obama’s Presidency is a mystery to me) but it is all so negative, it screams ‘don’t vote for the other guy for God’s sake’. If I have to have political advertising on the TV, I want to see someone setting out reasons why I should vote for them, not against the other side.
It seems to me that were are going further down this road over here. There are elections looming here as well, I’ve seen an advert from, I assume, the Electoral Commission telling us we’ll be able to vote for our police and crime commissioners on 15th November and to please turn out because they’ve put quite a lot of effort into it.
However, with under a month until the big day I’ve had only one item of communication about the election, that being from the Conservatives, and I fear that with this being the first time the election has been run, there is nothing to attack the others with and we’ll only start hearing from most parties when there’s accusations to throw at the opposition.
This makes me sad, because I believe that in a good democracy people should be putting themselves forward for election and promoting themselves on the basis of what they stand for, not as an alternative to the bogeyman who wears the other side’s rosette.
As mentioned just before I went off, I’ve been having a spot of bother with spam comments here. I turned moderation on during my absence to combat this, and sure enough I came back to a number of comments that were trashed in short order.
Just to re-state my comments policy; disagree with me all you like, call me an idiot or an nincompoop if you want, those comments are welcome. I will even tolerate ‘isms’ to an extent, however I reserve the right to edit or delete comments which I consider have crossed a line which is totally arbitrary and dependent upon my mood at the time.
I have now instituted a regime whereby your first comment will have to pass moderation, all subsequent posts should appear automatically. I’m unsure if those of you who have commented here previously will be covered by that or not, we shall find out.
Spam comments will not be published and will, if there’s any justice in the world, result in the fleas of a thousand camels infesting your groin.
This is my gaff, those are my rules. If you find them too onerous, then feel free to post elsewhere.