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O.K.: when I read THIS story about the new Conservative Party logo [see above] I had three, no, hang on, four, thoughtful reactions. You can decide how much they (each) tell you about me, the state of politics, the country, blah blah, etc.

1. First reaction. Even though I hated myself (as every good doleful self hating ex socialist must) for having this thought, it was along the lines of: '£40,000? That doesnt seem like very much...' and ' Well, you gets what you pays for I guess...'
It seeems PALTRY, £40,000, for some reason.
For this joke to work, it should have been a mil and a half or something. Then all the Daily Mail-y editorials that roll out every time a company pays some bunch of chancers to 'overhaul their visual identity' (ie, put a bunch of silly names in a hat and pull one out when you all get back from the pub at lunchtime) would have had a bit of heft. But 40-K seems shoddy somehow, Del-boy ish.
(It also made me think: WHY the hell arent I doing this? Which leads to ...

2. The thing that struck me in the reporting of the news story was how the quotes were all from (their) young kids. (Which has convenient echoes of old 'scandals' about Modern Art, without actually saying so and making yourself look Old Fogey-ish. 'My 7 year old could do that...' Except if your 7 year old did what Damen Hirst, Emin or the Chapman Brothers do, they'd be ASBO'd and sectioned.)

But this leads to thoughts 3 and 4.

3. The fact that their 7 year old kids are SO on the money on this one makes you think: well, frankly, why bother to pay some bunch of ex media studies tossers ANY sum of money at all, when most of the mobile phone toting, HEAT reading, video deconstructing kids/teenagers of this spunky nation could probably do not only 'just as good a job', theyd doubtless come up with something a 1000 times better.
As you may have noticed of late, I've given up noting all the "icon"s and "iconic"s I came across in the media, which is partly because its now a constant stream. It's moved over into people using it in advertising - "their ICONIC videos" I heard seriously, solemnly said of ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN of all people the other night - and everyday conversation. Which is a whole other topic, not for today; but if the use of that word is annoying and facile and (our survey said) baseless 97% of the time, it is an indicator of something: that 'reading' signs and brands and "visual identity" is no longer a specialised witch doctor trade. It's How Kids Are, nowadays.... (Money has nothing to do with it - they're all little Beckhams and Paris Hiltons, as far as media smarts go.)
And the old, canny Conservative Party would have found some hungry sixth-form students somewhere and given them promises of future employ and a wodge of used notes in a brown paper bag for a half-price new logo.
Which leads me to 4...

And how staggeringly stupefyingly WRONG I think the Conservatives have got it with this whole softy-softy softly-softly Cameron-led squeezy huggy green-I.D. approach.
It's half hearted, pointless, misconceived pissing in the wind.
Especially at this moment when the Labour party looks so riven and tired and baggy eyed and bitter, and far more concerned about its Image and Internal Politics than all the pressing concerns on most voters minds. IDIOTS! 40 grand? Whatever. Ask a cabby! Trawl the pubs! Any SANE adviser would have told the Tories to go ATTACK DOG. To go THATCHER REBORN. To go POLITICALLY INCORRECT. To go TOUGH on the CAUSES OF EVERYTHING - everything shallow and callow and deceiving and slimy and unpunished and bleeding heart abroad in the world at the moment.** The way the populus largely feels at the moment about Terrorists and Crime and Spin and a whole host of unchecked amorphous ills, that haunt our sleep with poison anxiety as much as they crowd out the light of every day's discourse - you want some thundering, STRONG-seeming Thatcher-like colossus to stand up and positively BLIND us with the light of old fashioned no-double-talk REASON.
'A facking TREE? I've coughed up better looking trees into my hanky!'
And go with a logo of a looming BATTLESHIP or Harrier jump jet or even a COUNTRY HOUSE, why not! Something that screams BACK TO NORMAL. And pride with the specifics of BEING BRITSH - unashamedly, no apologies, this is our long unbroken lineage**. Not a fucking tree. Worse! It doesnt even look like a decent Tory tree. It looks like something in the middle of a strong wind that will fall over if you sneeze too suddenly. (EVEN worse - it looks like maybe the designers were having a laugh at you. So it makes you look double, or triple lame.)
But a falling tree is accurate in at least one aspect - the impression the current Cameron-led farrago gives as an opposition. One of the reasons they dont work as an opposition is, of course, that they're not fundamentally opposed to 99% of Blairite policies and decisions. Well - they should turn that around right away and start spouting pure Powellite isolationism and subliminally vibe FUCK THE AMERICAS and FUCK EUROPE and LOCK UP the RAPISTS FOR EVER and throw away the key and STRINGENT STRINGENT searches for everyone coming in to the country and going back out again except for all members of the W.I. Yeah?

That tree. It just reminds me of that advert. Where a bunch of kids say. "It's a poo stick." It's a climbing frame." And so on.

Except: "It's a rip off. It's a laughing stock. It's a misfire."

**(Do I really have to NB here, that this isnt uh necessarily a full and direct reflection of my own ideological heart, or anything? Hhmm?)

posted by Ian 9/15/2006 08:30:00 AM

Looks like Cameron's trick is to appear all footloose, innocent and full of hope - as opposed to that bitter, nailbiting calvinist Gordon Brown (if we assume that he'll ever be PM).
Looks like they've misread Blair's appeal (if he had any anyway)- his whole 'Bambi' image was spent before he was even elected.

The tightarsed middle-england floaters wanted a ROTWEILER and got one. Endless prohibitions on victimless persuits, nonstop war, war, war since 1998, but hey - house prices are through the roof! Every week we hear how TOUGH they're gonna get on EVERYTHING except tightarsed middle-england floaters.

I doubt these people would warm to Cameron's hogwarts smirk that much - he needs to GET SOMEONE (who's left these days? Gypsies? Hindus? Cyclists?). The nation of shopkeepers couldn't give a fuck about the environment unless it affects house prices. They want blood, bread and circuses. Maybe it's time take notes from 'slasher' John Reid...
the problem for cameron is that "middle england" was always a very vague very loose construct, a deliberate renaming for a group which had a lot of DIFFERENT enconomic and cultural interests -- after all, it is intended to include shopkeepers, farmers, the professions, old money and the squirearchy, plus of course the thatcherite secret weapon = the various tory-voting sectors of the working class (including the queen-and-country garnett-esque deferentials -- now largely moribund -- and the thrusting ambitious vibrant young go-getters, plus lots of others less easily pinned down bcz they just wanted a quiet comfy family life) plus lots of others probably

nu-labour recast this still undefined "middle" to include less of the obvious no-go upper echelons (ie few farmers or financiers but plenty of the "professional" classes; plus of course plenty of ppl who had never left labour in the first place)

some sectors of this swingvote have been just BATTERED by thatcherism -- they already wanted out badly in 97 (remember the size of labour's victory), but blair persuaded them you could have a workable thatcherism w/o attack-dog tebbitry, and (with nowhere else to go) they gave nu-labour a chance or three

but thatcherism has produced miserable results for lots of these people -- it hasn't set them free as promised, it's enmired them in stress and debt and etc etc

i'm not at all sure that naked tebbitry, which this particular tranche of voters already repudiated strongly, WILL stitch them back together with the people who always liked it (who make a lot of noise and get a lot of daily mail pandering but DON'T seem to deliver a lot of votes) (or the BNP would do better than it does, surely?)

i think middle england is like a rotten apple still on the tree -- if you poke about at it too hard it will tumble to the ground and SHATTER stickily, and that's what the tories (who have after all already seen a once-stable and reliable class-coalition constituency be melted into air) are so burnt by
i think mark is right. my parents are classic middle england, really and this bit--

'some sectors of this swingvote have been just BATTERED by thatcherism -- they already wanted out badly in 97 (remember the size of labour's victory), but blair persuaded them you could have a workable thatcherism w/o attack-dog tebbitry, and (with nowhere else to go) they gave nu-labour a chance or three'

-- probably rings true for them. they're about 60 now but when i was growing up the two salient political episodes for them were the late '70s, and the early '90s; the latter affected them much worse, really. but the way they talk about the crapitude of the 70s labour govt is probably quite common among non-rabid people who voted thatcher (not that i know they did, but you know...).

competence in government is always a strong pitch for these people; you don't need to be a total bastard with it.

(ip, you shd seriously consider going into consultancy though; like bruno in 'the west wing'.)
The Tories tried that attack dog thing in the last election, but the problem is that Labour is so conspicuously authoritarian and anti-immigration that it is hard for the Conservatives to go to the Right of Nu-Lab without becoming the BNP. I think that Cameron has the right strategy, insipid as it might appear. The Tories are now ahead of Labour in the opinion polls; a while back that seemed well beyond them. (And it would be worse under Brown). Fact is, Cameron is Blair's achievement, just as Blair was Thatcher's.

Consultancy - I wish they did just spend a lunchtime on these things, the sad reality is that they spend months and months of 'work' on them... imagine if all that effort was devoted to something socially useful...
If you consider yourself an ex-socialist now, where do your current allegiances lie?! (Just curious...)

It strikes me that when you jettisoned all the liberal pieties and "adopted" the persona of a rabid Tory, you actually seemed to find it amazingly liberating... like you did when you channelled Bush the other week.

Go on, admit it!

Everybody knows Melanie Phillips is an infinitely better read than Polly Toynbee (runs for the hills)
I have NEVER gotten beyond the first or second paragraph of a Tonybee ed-op piece, it is true... this awful grey FOG just seems to fill my head. But I think taht is a stylistic problem. Whenever I've seen her on TV as a talking head she seems to have smart things to say - but as a writer, ay ay ay, talk about your cure for insomnia. Phillips is just insane, isnt she? I havent read anyting shes written for years, but I always got the impression she would have been happier in the 17th century or something.. in sackcloth, declaiming against... well, everything. Liek that great joke about Puritans: they hate sexual intercourse, because it might lead to dancing.
(Melanie Phillisp = the prim cello playing super ego to Julie Burchill's squally, wah-wah Id?)

I must admit... the idea of Bruno does appeal, tho. Although Toby was always my major crush.
Bruno = great underplayed Mephistophelean character: Ideology no obstacle to his magus craft...

I dont think I meant the economic meat of Thatcherism so much as just channeling some of the front, the lost dreams of certainty... (hey, I'd only just woken up...)

I just think Shires & Squires type Tories will HATE this: over paid urbanites playing with post modernist 'symbols' of a santitissed huggy-smiley Nature.
(TONY bee? Ed-op? PhilLISP? Whats wrong with my brain?)
One thing you can say about Mel P: at least she would've mustered a more acute review of the Fun-Da-Mental LP than Marcello's hysterical bilge, wherein a (5 years too late) piece by Martin Amis summarising the bleeding obvious gets recast as a "virulent, selective rant" and 9/11 becomes the West's collective fault for failing to "respect" Muhammad Atta.

The self-lacerating "guilt" of the progressive classes really is a dismal sight to behold.
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