Thursday, May 03, 2007

Municipal Elections 2007....I Want To Know What You Believe In

Maybe it's just coincidence, but I seem to run into them all the time recently. Wearing their distinctive red jackets with the word "quiero" written vertically in white down one side, they look like these people who get recruited by mobile phone companies, or one of the new television companies, to distribute marketing material to passers by. They have bicycles too, with flags attached to the back of the bike bearing the same slogan as the jackets. The first time I saw them I instinctively started to take that semi-circular route around them that says "I am not not the person who is going to take whatever it is you are handing out only to put it straight into the bin". They also travel with a large mobile screen which broadcasts a constant series of members of the public telling whoever cares to stop and listen what it is that they want.

These people are not hired by a private company to sell their product - they are in fact the campaign team for Miguel Sebastian, the PSOE candidate for mayor of Madrid. You wouldn't know without stopping and looking a bit closer that they even represent a political party. It is the ultimate triumph of style over content as someone has probably been paid very well to deliver a parody of the last commercial marketing campaign that they worked on. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against imaginative political campaigning but where is the difference if people confuse you with their telephone company? The illusion of participation is given by the screen and the camera team who give 5 seconds of fame to those who want to say their piece. It's an illusion because if you are going to take suggestions from ordinary people about what they want for their city then you do it before you present your electoral program, not afterwards. Letting Mr Garcia say he wants one thing, and then allowing Mrs Perez to say she wants the opposite just ends up giving the impression that you don't really stand for anything in particular.

Digging for victory?


Charles Butler said...

What's your take, Graeme? Is Gallardón in danger?

Graeme said...

Hi Charles, I haven't seen anything to suggest he is in danger of losing. The last opinion poll I saw suggested that if anything he might come out a bit stronger - Madrid city seems to be quite resolutely PP these days. The PSOE stands more chance of winning the Communidad.