Election propaganda and the “illusion of choice”

Observations Politics

The current Labour council in Birmingham, elected in 2018, successfully managed to wrangle it so that rather than have ‘partial’ elections on a rolling cycle, like most other local authorities do, they only have to hold ‘full’ elections every four years with all seats up for grabs. Which means that residents of Birmingham are stuck with Labour until 2022.

As it happens, in my local ward of Billesley, one of the two Labour councillors resigned as they had decided to move away out of the city, so we have the pleasure of being able to elect a new councillor in a local by-election.

The Labour candidate’s leaflet popped through my door last weekend, and in contrast to the nicely concise leaflet I received from the Freedom Alliance candidate the day before, this is sadly just typical of what both the Labour and Conservative parties send out everywhere.

And its just meaningless propaganda. Here’s the headline on the front page:

There it is in big bold letters, TORY THREAT

The actual issue at hand is NOT anything a local councillor can do anything about, this is something being debated and acted upon by the Government and Parliament. It is a National issue, NOT a local one.

But its all about perception manipulation, in this case, Tories BAD, vote Labour.

Then we have the ‘plan’, this is aimed at appealing to people at a more local level. Bearing in mind that this is a Labour candidate, looking to replace a Labour councillor, on a Labour-controlled council, these are just empty meaningless words, after all the current Labour council are doing such a fantastic job here in Birmingham (not!)

And there again, more mentions of Tory. OK yes, the current Conservative government does have a lot to answer for, but lets point out once again that the council is Labour controlled, and the current Police & Crime Commissioner is Labour also.

Finally, more mind control…

Yes, you don’t need to do your homework, look up the individual candidates and see what they stand for and what their priorities are.

Do as you are told and vote Labour!

I’m pretty sure people across the country are receiving similar propaganda leaflets through their doors already, and not just from Labour candidates, but the Conservative ones will follow a similar format, just substitute Tory with Labour. You notice after a while that it all starts to become sadly predictable and formulaic.

In the interest of balance, this is from one of two compact A5 leaflets I had through my door yesterday from our Conservative candidate.

This utilises a ‘tactic’ I have seen numerous times on Tory/Labour/Libdem leaflets, where they show a chart and say that ‘only so-and-so can win here’.

It’s another psychological manipulation trick, same as that employed by ‘opinion polls’, to corral voters into a simple polar choice, Labour or Conservative (or depending on where you live, SNP or Labour, LibDem or Tory etc etc).

It marginalises supporters of and candidates from other parties, or independent candidates.

In fact, looking back at the result in 2018 in particular for Billesley, the above chart is actually bullshit.

CandidatePartyVotes
Davis PhilLabour Party2537
Gaussen DavidGreen Party139
Grant Robert AndrewGreen Party232
Huxley TomConservative Party Candidate2037
James JaneConservative Party Candidate2035
Morrow AlanLiberal Democrat220
Seymour-Smith Lucy EmmaLabour Party2309
Wagg Philip Richard CharlesLiberal Democrat110
 Rejected Ballot Papers15
 TOTAL 
Phil Davis and Lucy Emma Seymour-Smith
Labour Party GAIN
Electorate: 14228
Turnout: 35.30%
Billesley ward results: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20097/elections_and_voting/1685/local_government_election_results_may_2018

From memory, as this ward returns two councillors, voters were allowed two votes, so that was two crosses one could mark on the ballot paper.

So it will be different this time round, with only one vote allowed. Now here’s some truth, if just half of the 5022 people who DIDN’T vote last time around (the MAJORITY of the electorate) could get up off their backsides and vote for someone who WASN’T a Labour or Conservative candidate… well, it would be a different story and different outcome altogether.

Both main parties are peddling bullshit in the form of propaganda, and the media aids and abets them too, by keeping the unsuspecting public firmly focused on the ‘illusion of choice’ that is Labour or Conservative.

“If you don’t vote one, the other one will get in”

Its just a ‘blame game’ for these people, and sadly many of the electorate are still unaware that it makes no difference if they vote Labour or Conservative, because they can’t see beyond the propaganda.

Please, just vote for somebody else!

As it happens, I’m pleased to learn that there will be a total of 9 candidates appearing on the ballot paper in Billesley ward, including two independents, and candidates for both Reform UK and Freedom Alliance.

Nice to be spoilt for choice for a change.

As I pointed out earlier, you only have to look at the turnout percentage to realise there are fundamental problems with democracy in our country.

Where turnout figures are low, what you have is a minority of the electorate determining the outcome of an election, via a majority of that minority. “Tyranny Of The Minority”.

I can fully appreciate why many people choose not to bother to vote, but this is all part of the problem. People need to start breaking this perception that there is “only ever two choices”, and that by voting differently in greater numbers (ie by NOT voting for any mainstream establishment party candidate) will any change actually ever be achieved.

You are NEVER being ‘forced’ to choose between two candidates (unless sadly of course there are only two candidates on the ballot paper), and your vote is YOUR choice.

Stand up for what you believe in! If you want to vote Green, then get off your backside and do so! Likewise if you want to vote UKIP, or Reform UK, or Freedom Alliance, then go and do so!

Don’t feel pressured into voting for Labour or Conservative, because you are led to believe that is your only choice. Or not bothering at all, because you think its a ‘waste of time’.

Remember, it is voter apathy that keeps this minority in control…

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