Moving forward, let’s stop the great big new tax on boats.
Slogans and soundbites are the jackhammers of politics. Short, sharp and brutal. And annoying if you’re trying to have a normal conversation. It’s hard to get a word in edgewise when a well-aimed three second soundbite can pierce the air and dismantle any longer argument you’re trying to make.
Of course, in politics, if one side is at it, both sides are. They’re all going to have a crack at fitting their messages into smaller and smaller parcels. You can blame the media for packaging up hundreds of pages of legislation into a 45-second story or you can blame the politicians for whom the lack of a detailed analysis of their message can be a blessing.
It takes two to tango. (Is that a slogan?)
Here are some of the worst (or, if you’re so inclined, best):
1. Stop the Boats
There’s no mention of real people on these boats of course, because the tagline ‘stop the asylum seekers’ is a bit rough even for those who actually believe it. ‘The Boats’ are this weird de-humanised collective who, if we weren’t mistaken, are sailing here unattended of their own volition to take our jobs and change our way of life. If we’re not careful there will be actual 12ft dingies and rustic sloops filling our Centrelink lines before we even know it.
2. Kevin ’07.
Clean, crisp, looks good on a tee-shirt. And some simply hated it. Like any fashion statement, really. This was of course Kevin Rudd’s slogan in the lead up to the 2007 (well, fancy that!) election which he won in a landslide. The slogan was then morphed into Kevin 747 because he did a lot of overseas travel and now everyone’s asking whether it’ll be Kevin ’11 for the leadership again. Surely we’ll run out of semi rhyming numbers soon … surely?
The political equivalent of ‘move along, nothing to see here’. What are we moving on from, Prime Minister? The PM said the slogan ‘captured the spirit of the nation’. However, it usually helps a pithy slogan if you end up walking the talk. Fair enough the carbon price was moving WAY forward but on most other policy points there’s been a lot of zig-zagging, violent lurches to the right and backflips that would embarrass Nadia Comaneci.
If you didn’t catch it, here’s a groovy remix:
4. We’ll decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.
This was a brilliant slogan – if only because it was effective, powerful and was replayed all over the news. In terms of the message? Ridiculous. The subtext here might as well have said ‘anything but boat’. A rephrasing might have delivered the true intent of the then Prime Minister John Howard’s words: “We’ll decide if your home country is war torn and you’re at risk of death which, for our own purposes will likely be no.” But it doesn’t sound as sexy, does it?