Sunday, 8 March 2015

Time for a rethink about marketing politics

Politics watchers can see the Tories courting the elderly with high interest bonds funded by struggling taxpayers in an effort to secure their votes. At the same time, they consign the young to low-paid employment, shrinking benefits and unaffordable housing, because they are less likely to vote even though the future is theirs. Both Labour and Conservative camps trot out a mantra of support for "hard - working families" as if only those in work are deserving; yet simultaneously drain them dry.

This intergenerational jockeying is the result of the "marketisation" of politics, as of all other facets of the economy in our increasingly value free culture. We are slotted into sterotyped boxes to make it easier for them to sell us their wares. But hold on a minute: are not those pensioners the parents of the hard workers and grandparents of the debt-burdened students? Do these generations exist in isolation, as mere silos for the convenience of demographers? Or do we sit down together for Sunday lunch, support one another through crises, emotional, medical, financial, practising in microcosm the essential redistribution which politicians only argue over?

These is a movement called variously Design for All or Inclusive Design which increasingly demonstrates that focus on selected minorities is essentially divisive and fails to maximise the reach of the messages intended to be delivered. Instead, by treating the needs of the weakest and often neglected in the community as the first objective, all people can be satisfied whilst decent values come before mere marketing. Instead of looking for ever more blatant bribes for this or that market segment, how about thinking of the first obligation of a State, to look after the most vulnerable, as politics' first priority and not as a begrudged afterthought? Then everyone will be better off because the community feels better about itself, the vulnerable are safe and politics is about doing the right thing.

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