The Tories’ obsession with their ‘brand’ patronises voters by treating them as shoppers, so writes Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph today.
It’s another of those commentary pieces that again goes around the houses to articulate and bemoan the hollowed out shell that now passes for party politics in this country, but consistently fails to seek and explain why this is the case.
In his own way, O’Neill tells us what we already know and have heard from numerous other talking heads in a variety of slants on the same core theme, when he says:
That everyone now seems to think it’s normal to talk about the Tories as a “brand” shows how shallow, how surface-driven, modern politics has become. A brand, of course, is an outer mark, a stamp either burnt on to one’s skin or, in modern parlance, stamped on to a product or service for sale. That the Tories, especially their modernisers, have become myopically obsessed with this outer mark, with the lick of paint on the outside of their party and the question of whether a new, more youth-friendly lick of paint is required, shows how bereft of serious thinking they are. Embarrassed by the historical and political substance of the existing Tory Party, and lacking any newer substantial political ideas for taking the Tory Party forward, they obsess instead over garb, over prettification strategies, over imagery, like those annoying hip graphic designers who think style is everything and substance is so 20th-century.
As always the cause and the answer are clear; we do not have democracy. All that is left of the political parties is shallow, branded, tribal trivialities that are devoid of substance or ideas. This is for the simple reason that all the major issues concerning goverance of this country are decided by the EU. The UK is not a sovereign nation. Our politicians have some relatively meaningless shreds of control left in areas the EU has not yet taken or cannot bother itself with owning.
The days of weighty and ideological battles, of matters of substance being argued over in Parliament, through the media and on the doorsteps, are gone. This is what the EU – in all its guises – set out to do, to remove power from where ‘populist’ sentiment, i.e. voters, could influence it, because people vote for things in their ‘narrow national interest’ rather than the interest of the political class and their corporate sponsors. I left the following comment in response to the piece:
The only philosophy is the desire to hold office, no matter how powerless or meaningless it is. Of course there is the added incentive of pay and perks and the personal profile and future spin offs that come with such a position. But anyone who makes the argument that they want to enter party politics to ‘change things from the inside’ is clearly too ignorant of reality to be worthy of election in the first place.
One wonders how long it will take for this to dawn on people, particularly the talking heads, who remain incapable of joining together a few dots or reading about what our surpreme government was created to do and recognising what it has so far done. Bar a few notable exceptions, it seems the massed ranks of the lamestream media are either in denial or must have been subjected to a collective lobotomy.