Posters, Doodles and personal attacks

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, February 1st, 2005
9:34 am and is filed
under UK General Election 2005.

On the 25th of January, the Labour Party sent an email out to supporters asking them to choose their favourite from a selection of ‘clever’ anti-Tory posters. The two that turned out to be the most popular – and caused the most fuss – appear below:

The pig issue is, I think, worth mentioning… in that you’d have to be pretty stupid not to realise how it could be interpreted…

BBC – Labour pig poster ‘anti-Semitic’: The Labour Party has been accused of anti-Semitism over a poster depicting Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin – who are both Jewish – as flying pigs.

Oh, and the photoshopping on that one is decidedly crap, too. Unlike the next one, which is quite reasonable.

As for the charge that it portrays Howard as Fagin or Shylock (pocket watches were common in Shakespeare’s day, don’t you know) is – in my opinion – a bit of a reach.

The Times – Fagin, Shylock and Blair: The relationship between the two poses is obviously intentional; there is even an unusual knot in the watch chain that appears in both. We are intended to associate Mr Howard with Fagin, that is with a sinister Jewish criminal as seen by anti-Semites.

Oh well, no matter. Storm in a teacup. Posters quietly withdrawn. Life goes on…

Telegraph – Labour drops flying pig and ‘Fagin’ posters

But what’s this…?

Sctosman – Howard Side-Steps Labour Posters Row: Mr Howard pointed to Tony Blair’s 1997 warning against “nasty, negative, personalised, abusive” campaigning. He said it was a shame the Prime Minister did not practise what he preached.

Hrm…. No, can’t spot any personal attacks here.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Downing St were – in part – able to cast light away from the posters as they had a jolly good giggle at the expense of the always-correct Mirror, who went to print last Friday with a study of what they claimed was a ‘doodle’ left behind by Mr Blair at the International Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

Mirror – What’s on your mind, Mr Blair?: Doodles left behind by Tony Blair yesterday give us an insight into the mind of the Prime Minister. The page of circles, goalposts and jottings were made during a debate with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and U2’s Bono at the International Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Psychologist Elaine Quigley says the loopy letters and boxed-up issues are the tell-tale signs that our leader is a bit of daydreamer hoping for the best.

But, as it turns out, the doodles belonged to Bill Gates, which leaves the Mirror (and those who followed on Saturday, including The Times and the Independent) looking a little bit stupid.

BBC – ‘Blair’ doodles amuse Number 10: A page of doodles found on Tony Blair’s desk at last week’s economic summit in Davos sparked a wave of excitement in the media. Psychologists and handwriting experts were drafted in by the press in the hope of getting a glimpse into the inner workings of the prime ministerial mind. Newspaper stories contained phrases such as “struggling to concentrate” and “not a natural leader”. Now – and with not a little glee – Downing Street has revealed that the scribblings were not the work of the premier, but that of one Bill Gates of Microsoft. Insiders at Number 10 are apparently waiting “with amusement” to find out just how the comments about Mr Blair will now be applied to Mr Gates.

Hm. They may be waiting a while. In the meantime, there is this.

The circus has begun. I’m now predicting that the election date will be announced late next Wednesday (9 Feb) or early Thursday, unless something unpredicted happens during or following the count in Iraq. Make your own predictions, if you like.

UPDATE – More on personal attacks from The UK Today. And, for the record, Backing Blair will make great use of personalities… but the primary attacks will be on bullshit.

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