UK paperback

Vote for Change

Why me?

Is it just me, or does George Osborne look as though he has a sneering rubber George Osborne mask permanently superglued to his moonling face? Anyway, the Conservative Party in Britain has announced its new election slogan, which is:

Vote for Change.

I initially assumed this was a desperate act of bribery, according to which the Tories were promising a handful of coins to anyone who bothered to make it down to the polling station — you know, vote for change? — but no. It really does mean as little as it appears to. In a way it is a masterstroke, the reductio ad absurdum of the very idea of a campaign slogan, the ne plus ultra of “communications”-led politics. The sole idea-oid it contains is the contemporary anti-idea that change is always desirable in and of itself, even though one can of course think of many changes that would be undesirable, such as if the planet were to be struck by an asteroid, or drinking beer made illegal.

Opposition parties always play on the message “We’re not the other lot”, but they rarely have nothing else to say. At least Barack Obama’s slogan, for example — the aspartame-based syrup of Change You Can Believe In — added another empty signifier to the first. Depending on the concept change alone just looks lazy. As a reason to choose a candidate, moreover, Vote for Change recommends racist loon Nick Griffin just as much as it does foundation-caked estate-agent-impersonator David Cameron. ((Previously in “David Cameron”: A conscience issue.))

What change would you like to see, readers?

  1. 1  Rojo  March 1, 2010, 8:49 am 

    Hope you can change in!

    You can change you beliefs, we hope!

    Hope and change, say six bucks worth of change, will get you a pretty nice sandwich!

    Believe in Hope, he might come back for another USO show!

    Change your hopes, because you ain’t getting shit out of us!

    I offer any of these to any party, for, I hope, a nominal fee, mere change really, considering the budgets of the major capitalist parties.

  2. 2  Roger Migently  March 1, 2010, 9:32 am 

    Given that voting in Britain is optional – and you get, what, 60% turnout? – perhaps the slogan is a typo and should read “Vote for a change!” And it would work just as well for the other meaning.

    Then, of course, there’s “Vote for the Change You Want”, which leaves the supposed change up to the imagination of the individual voter and frees the party from any responsibility for actual policy. I’m sure I’ve seen this one somewhere. You’ll have one lot of people visualising brick walls all along the south coast to keep out the “cadburys” (as my friend’s awful mother used to call them) while another lot will fantasize about riding to hounds once again while someone else will be voting for the return of corporal punishment in schools.

  3. 3  Jasper Milvain  March 1, 2010, 10:15 am 

    Labour’s 1992 slogan, if I remember, was “Time for a change”. And we all remember how well it worked back then.

  4. 4  democracy_grenade  March 1, 2010, 12:21 pm 

    Tony Blair : “Things Can Only Get Better” :: David Cameron : this.

  5. 5  democracy_grenade  March 1, 2010, 12:27 pm 

    ^ Just noticed that that song contains the lyric “a space man makes it with an alien girl.” I guess that explains George Osbourne…

  6. 6  Hey Zeus  March 1, 2010, 3:01 pm 

    Why is everybody on a devo-tip this week? Have they got a DVD coming out or something?

    I’ll be voting optimistically for a change to the political porridge-scape and voting green, just because it adds variety.

  7. 7  Seeds  March 1, 2010, 3:05 pm 

    While we’re talking about the Tories, is there any Unspeak lurking in the terms “permanent resident” and “non-dom“?

  8. 8  Bruce  March 1, 2010, 3:10 pm 

    I thought conservatism sort of meant the opposite of change. I think the technical term for this slogan is Operation MIndfuck or even Strange Loop.

  9. 9  Wrestling Dick  March 1, 2010, 7:38 pm 

    An old Steve Bell cartoon from the Thatch era has Mag consulting a robot for an election slogan.It gives her a choice( she approves of choice),between
    “Crawl,you scum”
    “Next stop oblivion”

  10. 10  democracy_grenade  March 14, 2010, 1:57 pm 

    Nick Clegg’s Lib Dem conference speech.


    “Change. Changey change change. Real change. With knobs on! Fucking… ALTERATIONS!!!!!!!!”

    Oh, and “fairness”.

  11. 11  Steven  March 14, 2010, 8:48 pm 

    Thanks for saving me the trouble!

  12. 12  dsquared  March 15, 2010, 9:56 am 

    While we’re talking about the Tories, is there any Unspeak lurking in the terms “permanent resident” and “non-dom“?

    oooooooh yes there is. There was a Newsnight segment a couple of weeks ago during which Paxman kept asking a couple of Tory talking heads about Lord Ashcroft’s domicile, and they kept giving answers about his residence. I was practically screaming (oh all right, I was actually screaming) at the television set by the end.

  13. 13  ukliberty  March 15, 2010, 10:38 am 

    Vote for Change.

    I’d like politicians to see my slogan: Change for Votes.

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