Archive | September, 2016

Election Billboards …still hanging on !

28 Sep

Last week Stuff ran an article headed ” Election sign designs fail to excite “. In the article a design lecturer commented ” They are all fine, but there is nothing new ” after looking at signs in Palmerston North. Simplicity seemed to be the message. The Lecturer suggest ( though perhaps not as her as the article leads us to think ) that candidates need to re-think marketing.

Hang on though, these are local body elections. Most candidates will be spending in the hundreds of dollars, if at all. Hoardings don’t win elections, they may make a confirmation or connection. But is that the point ? The 2016 elections have seen local hoardings make a bit of a comeback even if the political effect will be limited. From Vic Crones early and illegal use of them outside the prescribed period, which led to a bizarre exchange about underwear pictures ( not hers I must add )., through to the shocking revelation that marlborough candidates are ignoring safety advice in placing hoardings at intersections. And to think they may be responsible for …well something.

More artistically and without any real logic Invercargill has seen hoax billboards for Harambe, the Gorilla shot in a US Zoo. I love the quote from the Invercargill election officer that ” these were not in accordance with the district plan ” clearly an oversight around signage for dead zoo animals during the prescribed election period. He then went on to say the signs would probably not distract from the real candidate signs. Lets hope the residents of Invercargill aren’t spending too much time searching voting documents for a silverback.

In Auckland there has been a fight between candidates over a phrase used by Manurewa – papkura action team , that they are opposed to 9.9 percent rates increases. Now this isn’t because they dislike 9’s or that they don’t like 9.9 , its unclear if they want more or less ( ok it is clear )

2 Whangerai candidates have been displaying works of art  because they didn’t want to do political billboards. The art looks really neat- whether it will help them who knows.There have also been mock boards for a candidate who isn’t running – make your own joke up there.

Thieves in Auckland stole a trailer of billboards from a candidates house – again insert own joke here, but anything about them returning twice as many the next day is mine. ( The herald used the line Greg Mckeown woke up this morning to find his home had been targeted, which is a really bad attempt at writing a blues song ) .

Thieves were also stealing Tessa Bergers signs , though quite frankly they are awful in terms of political messaging. The real sadness though is that many billboards still create an opportunity for racist graffiti. Though that is not the point. I don’t really care about the message, billboards are art. They are a Gilbert and George esqu art for sure, and not the kind you’d want in your living room. But they are still here, and the local elections allow us to escape the vanilla national ones …long may they continue.


Seldon on Cameron

6 Sep

Cameron at 10, the new paperback edition has a brief update to remind you that having done his best to cling on to power through the coalition, the Scottish and STV referenda and beyond Cameron shot two great big holes in his no doubt expensively shoed feet and has left the building.

Seldon has become the instant go to man for insight and narrative on the inner workings of the Prime Ministership. His work on John Major was almost a lengthy diary comprised on numbers newspaper cuttings and “private information”, his works on Blair more thematic. Seldon comes to like the latter Blair, where as he seems as though he can hardly tolerate Brown and finds Ed Balls ” the puppet master ” Ed Balls the dancer younger readers may not be aware was a politician and friend of Gordon Brown in a former life.

So his approach to Cameron seems , well headmasterly. Seldon seems to have a soft spot for Tories and   posh ones at that. Cameron is seen as failing the big tests, he is a tactician not a strategist. He keeps all the plates spinning when many would like them to crash, until of course they do spectacularly. For Seldon Osborne seems to be the real hero of the book, political,ruthless and yet ever so subservient. One for the price of two seems a constant theme around Cameron / Osborne (Camborne perhaps ?). Seldon doesn’t really make much comment on the levels of fear or poor campaign run by Cameron in both Scotland and Brexit, as with his books on Blair he drops relationship in in a thematic way – read a chapter on Lynton Crosby or Michael Gove rather than interweaving them. At times its disjointing, at others its helpful ( you can skip Gove if you wish – Gove skipping would be a sight and perhaps a tourist attraction).

Im not sure what value Seldons books really bring. Its a combination of Journalism and at times infuriating private information. One imagines for example that conversations between Cameron and John Oliver are attributable to one or the other of them, maybe even both of them! One wonders if the Seldon machine is gearing up to befriend Teresa May, and if they are, for all its faults I will probably read it.