Although the MP expenses scandal, continued economic woes and now the Haiti earthquake have all done their best to distract us, 2010 is an election year. This normally means the ruling party stops running the country in favour of trying to save their own jobs, while all the opposition parties point out how badly the country is doing, scaring off much needed investment and depressing the rest of us.
It has been a few decades now since politicians in this country figured out that what you say is much less important than how you say it, and in a media-led world of 5 second attention spans it is just as much about leaving an impression as actually proposing anything useful or innovative. It is in this realm that promotional gifts come in to their own, where political parties go slogan man and race to brand as much of the urban sprawls and their inhabitants as possible. Politicians and campaigners go door to door handing out promotional pens and badges, with promotional car stickers available for people who like defacing their own property (“Honk for change”, suggest the Tories).
Promotional items are also a great fund raiser, with the Conservative Party offering all manner of branded merchandise for sale from the “Shop For Change” section of their website, including printed diaries and promotional bags. As yet none of the other major parties offer an equivalent selection of their own, but it would be interesting to see how a “Tea For Change” Tory mug and a Labour competitor would compare in a head to head brew-off. Most likely you would either find the brewing industry shut down from lack of government investment and the brew making communities abandoned, or two hundred laws being passed governing the tea brewing process, crippling any remaining brewing industry with red tape and health and safety legislation.
Whichever mug you choose, it always tastes the same in the end. Have a happy election!