Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Party Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Party Time

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

election fever is upon us. Everyone is feeling sick. The Parties shamelessly jostle for our affection. It's a beauty contest full of ugly folk. And, because its election time, they'll be coming out to see us. In the coming weeks, politicians of every hue will be wheeled out to press the flesh. The only good thing is they hate meeting us more than we hate meeting them. And this isn't a good time to be ill, as the politicians usually head straight for the hospitals.

Imagine the horror. There you are, recovering from an operation on your How's Your Father, and you're woken up by Michael Howard. It would see me off, I know that.

The children who aren't ill will be targeted at school. First the politicians will have briefings from their nannies. Here they will cover alien subjects such as how to deal with children, suitable questions to ask, and how to sit on a tiny chair.

Finally they'll be tested on their own children. How many they have, names, ages and brief personal details. To make them look more human the politician will be handed photos of their children. These photos are a useful aide memoire ( most politicians jot the aforesaid details on the photo.

Then they're forced into the schools, where for an excruciating hour they sit next to snotty children, watching them draw circles, and nodding sagely in wonderment, whilst all the while checking their watch.

They have their approved questions to hand; they look at the list. It includes: "What's your name little boy/girl?" with appropriate smile and listen to response. "What is your favourite subject at school?"

However the political instincts kick in: "Do you have any influence at home?" "Do you know how to get your mum and dad to do things? Tell them to vote for me. I can get you a bike, you know ( or I can see to it that your dad is made redundant."

And the marketing campaigns are up and running. Expensive professionally managed campaigns targeting key marginal seats. …

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