Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Age Of The Virtual Politician - Avoiding The People At All Costs
The British political class who are putting themselves up for election, or re-election in most cases, are taking the advise of their PR professionals, spin doctors, advertising executives and image consultants, by avoiding any contact with the general public.
So important has image and presentation become it has replaced reality; in tandem with this the truth has been replaced by slogans and soundbites.
This election campaign has been reduced to a series of meticulously managed media appearances and choreographed photo opportunities where only friendly bought-and-paid-for journalists are invited.
To the frustration of the electorate, where a politician has been forced to appear for a televised interview they steadfastly refuse to give direct answers to legitimate questions but repeat ad nauseum spin doctor authored soundbites while at the same time attempting to turn the interview around to the evils of the opposition parties.
(This doesn't include the anti-establishment parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party, who are pursued mercilessly for direct answers by the MSM because they are threatening the century long grip on power of the legacy parties)
Outside of these televised set pieces and the acting studios, the leading politicians are conspicuous by their absence. Contact with the great unwashed is avoided at all costs lest the casual off-the-cuff remark become a social media sensation undoing months of expensive image creation.
Going 'off message' and putting the days carefully orchestrated spin in jeopardy is a nightmare for the media managers and it is avoided by minimising contact between the politicians and the people.
Similarly, contact between politicians and the independent press is also avoided for fear of a non-establishment journalist asking an unscripted question for which no answered has been prepared in advance for their charge to parrot.
For those of us who understand the black arts of the media managers and the PR professionals - and as a result have acquired an immunity to their spin and deceit - we can sit back and share the hilarity of watching their charges make complete idiots of themselves in places they wouldn't be seen dead in outside of election time.
Watching grown adults, Prime Ministers and supposed international statesmen sitting in infant chairs around a tiny table doing finger painting with kindergarten toddlers is a sight to behold. Watching political leaders, including Ministers of State, trying to look natural drinking a pint of ale in pub, even though the public have been excluded for duration, is laughable.
One can see at a glance that these professional machine politicians look uncomfortable doing every day things such as eating an ice cream cone or ordering fish and chips or even taking a walk on the beach.
(For the information of PR men and image creators - ordinary people don't wear a suit and tie on the beach and mushy peas in a fish and chip shop is not a guacamole dip)
The British public now have to endure the toe-curling embarrassment of watching their Prime Minister and his senior Minister don turbans, while their wives wear pashminas and hijabs for the sole purpose of securing the ethnic vote.
How this grovelling to the ethnic community and its official acceptance of their separate identity helps with the governments declared policy of integration is yet to be explained.
Everything these charlatans say and do, including their body language and phony regional accents, has been scripted in advance by the PR machines to fool the public that the images they are seeing is reality.
The age of spin and media management in politics has led inexorably to the age of the virtual politician where a flawless performance by a schooled charlatan in front of the cameras is more important than the policies they are advocating or, more importantly, the truth.
I'm sure it won't be long before the real politicians will be kept locked away somewhere safe out of the public eye to be replaced by a hologram programmed to repeat only what's been programmed into its memory chip.
In the meantime they can keep themselves busy by continuing to act as a rubber stamp for the real government operating out of the EU headquarters in Brussels and making sure they keep their expense claims away from the prying eyes of their long suffering constituents.