Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Roll up. Roll up.

BBC political correspondent Nick Assinder writes today that the Labour leadership election website is marking the occasion of the new Labour leader and prime minister in a special way. Telling members that "Never before has the membership of any political party had such a responsibility for shaping the future of British politics, nor such a responsibility to the people of Britain, and the history of our movement. It is an honour and a privilege," Presumably this is the fact that normally the party does not choose the prime minister while in office; obviously someone has not followed their history too well as the Conservatives did the same in 1990, oh yes and Labour in 1976, but hey who cares about historical accuracy.

However we can also all buy a delightful range of 'collectibles' such as a mug, or a badge to celebrate the occasion. As Nick points out it is one way of earning money, but he also notes that this may well be devaluing and trivialising the contest, making party websites a similar to those wonderful shops that sell tat to tourists. Particularly if one considers the parallel promotional campaigns run by the contenders for deputy; "Nuts for Hazel" T shirts (Hazel Blears) are a must I think.

As a debate runs on party funding perhaps one question all of this, or decide as Nick Assinder concludes 'why not'. Maybe getting a bit of fandom attached to the contest will promote engagement, maybe it will earn money so the taxpayer does not subsidise campaigning, even better maybe it can avoid dubious deals that we now associate with the term 'cash for honours'. And maybe it would be good to see people at the next election sporting T-shirts with witty slogans that promote voting for Brown, Cameron or Campbell - any suggestions for the slogans?

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