Monday, April 18, 2005

are you rethinking?

That Tory poster campaign is just gagging for spoofs. It's so condescending, so stupid, so hypocritical and so thinly covering their rich seam of bigotry.

'It's not racist to impose limits on immigration'

'I mean, how hard can it be to keep a hospital clean?'

Well, as Jim Bliss says, hospitals are probably the most difficult things in the world to keep clean.

as anyone who gave the question 30 seconds of thought knows, the answer is actually: "Pretty damn hard indeed!" Hospitals are filled with the most biohazardous and infectious things imaginable; sick people. And unless you eliminate them, you are never going to have completely clean hospitals. Of course, a quick glance at their spending plans and policies and you begin to suspect that the elimination of sick people is something that will increase dramatically under another tory government.

They allege hospitals would be clean if we 'put matron in charge'.

Ignoring the insultingly simplistic phrasing, yeah, I agree with the basic idea of in-house staff providing more conscientious cleaning because they have a sense of belonging, stay in the job longer, are likely to have better pay and conditions and have a personal relationship with patients and medical staff.

In fact, that's what we used to have. Until someone came along with the idea that all human endeavour should be run as if it were a manufacturing industry in a freemarket economy. They put cleaning contracts out to tender and awarded them to whoever was the cheapest, generally the ones who cut the most corners and had the most unmotivated staff doing the actual work. In doing so, they made keeping hospitals clean a lot harder and a lot more expensive too.

Still, that expense was money paid to the people running the cleaning firms who all had private medical insurance, so nothing to worry about really.

Now, who was it that made all that happen again? Wait, it's coming to me now... you remember, the people in power in the 80s and 90s, had a bloke called Michael Howard in one of the most senior positions...

You can make your own spoof Tory poster thanks to the online Tory poster generator.

Others have already got into full swing in a similar vein, as these stickers are already on the streets of Nottingham.

It's astonishing that the Tories appear to see no contradiction in the pro-hospitals and anti-immigration messages. As anyone who sees the inside of a hospital instantly knows, a disproportionately large number of the staff there are immigrants, from the very best surgeons through the nursing staff to those who cook the food and, yes, keep the place clean. In fact, there's another idea for a spoof tory poster; 'Who do you think keeps the hospitals clean? It's time we wised up about immigration'.

It's very easy to do your own stickers. You can buy packets of blank stickers at any office supply shop, and Microsoft Word has built-in templates for many sizes of sticker-sheets. Go Tools > Envelopes and Labels... > Labels tab > Options... and there's a whole list. Avery J8165 are great, eight stickers to an A4 sheet, ideal for buses, trains, bus stops, etc.

And of course they're not just for these election things, but are a good swift and simple way to stop yourself feeling bombarded by advertising. It gives you a way to reply to ads, make it a dialogue and expose what they're really saying.

For instance, loads of adverts on the London Underground are for products to give you a boost of nutrients or wakefulness, alleviate minor ailments, or some other thing to help you cope with a stressful life. They're all dealt with by a sticker saying 'They make us sick to sell us health: do yourself a favour, phone in well tomorrow'.

The best multipurpose one is a long strip to put along the bottom of an ad like the warning on tobacco; 'WARNING: they're only after your money'. Sounds obvious written here, but set against some image of impossible glamour or incitement to fear it is extremely potent.

In giving responses you not only feel better yourself, and not only get your message to others who see it, but you make it clear that the thing you've stickered is an advert. There is so much advertising around that we become oblivious to it, accepting and susceptible. Subvertising makes people aware that the ads are a drive to manipulate, not merely background scenery. It makes the reader hold that awareness even after the subvertised ad is gone. It is empowering for all who see it.

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By the way, on a non-election spoof thing, be sure to beautify your home with a magnificent Cliff Richard 2005 calendar. Download a pdf of it here.


scarletharlot69 said...

Wotcha Merrick

great post, must confess, you missed out that on the poster generator, instead of "Are you thinking what we are thinking" you can have "Are you drinking what we are drinking" great for "Michael Howard is the next Prime Minister" etc

yup, the general election is all a bit tweedle dum and tweedle dee with tweedle dee too with the liberal democrats. But as somone who has given the best years of his life, as it where to trying to ensure that there would be something to vote for in state elections, hey I can't win.

As a Green, that the green party is ignored by the capitalist press is only to be expected. That the Green Party is probably subjected to more hostility from within the Green movement than the capitalist parties does I must confess hurt.

love and liberation

Bluebell xx

merrick said...

"Are you drinking what we are drinking"

Ha! Superb! Get yerself some stickers & get that one out there!

That the Green Party is probably subjected to more hostility from within the Green movement than the capitalist parties does I must confess hurt

Whilst I have voted Green in the past and probably will again, there is much about the party that does annoy me greatly and I side with a lot of the criticism I hear from other eco types.

They talk of massive job creation and massive public trasport systems without seeing any contradiction with their idea of energy demand reduction, let alone addressing the imminent oil crash and consequent permanent energy crisis.

That such ideas coem from people who do - or damn well should - know about peak oil makes them ridiculous. Nowhere near as ridiculous as the main parties, I'll grant you, but utterly untenable nonetheless.

I see people with such knowledge and vision and energy pouring it into the Green party for almost no reward. The system they're playing is rigged against them.

In many ways, it reminds me of the late 1990s 'accountability' idea in the direct action movement. People would do the minimum action to get arrested - often telling the coppers in advance - then plead not guilty and do a righteous speech in court.

The problem was that the courts don't give a fuck about international law (even though the Nuremberg Treaty obliges them to place it above national law), and the 'acountables' got convicted.

Had those same brave, well-informed people not told the coppers and turned up in the middle of the night at the GM crop, military base or wherever, they could've been a lot more effective and got away with it.

Instead, they mistook the courts as some place of fairness, instead of recognising it as the punishment wing of the very forces they were fighting.

Ditto the Greens and the attempts at parliamentary elections.

Locally, they've been a lot more effective, but this pretence of being a party like the others squanders their energy and pretends parliament is somehow good and right.

They do a decent job of having informed spkoespeople for media work, but not in a way that's not already well covered by NGOs, so again it's a waste of time.

They draw flak from other greens (small g) because they should know better.