There is a growing movement - or, more accurately, a growing feeling - that the day of the election poster is coming to an end.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Cllr Donal Lyons will propose a vouluntary ban on all election posters in Galway city. If his motion is passed and adhered to what alternatives might candidates and parties come up with?
Election time is always accompanied by posters clogging up every available lamppost in sight, with heavily airbrushed and beatifically beaming faces looking down on you hopefully and promising you the world (but unlikely to deliver more than Luxembourg )!
Environmentally dubious, costly, and often regarded as an eyesore, it’s no wonder people want rid of them! So what are the alternatives?
Advertising in newspapers and on radio is vital while the digital media of email, text, and YouTube, opens up further avenues.
YouTube might be a fun way to get a campaign message across, and it is an avenue Cllr Michael J Crowe used for his 2007 general election campaign.
Although some of the council’s more colourful characters, like Mayor Padraig Conneely, could very well become YouTube stars if they were to use this medium, it’s unlikely to catch on soon - just ask Green candidate James Hope, whose proposal to record the Galway City Council meetings for YouTube broadcast, received as savage a reception as the Christians in Nero’s Rome.
Speaking of Rome, the Vatican recently advised giving up text messages for Lent (I mean could the Roman Catholic Church not think of anything better? ) which may cause a problem for some of our practising RC councillors.
Could voting via text catch on? Of course it could, but do you want your mobile phone plagued with endless messages asking ‘Pls give me ur no1 vote pass txt on2 ur friends’ or ‘vote 4 me n jun 5’, etc, etc? Besides, how would candidates get the numbers of ordinary people? Who would they have to convince to give them such info?
The same applies to emails. Remember that great Monty Python sketch “I’ll have the spam, eggs, bacon, sausage, and spam without the spam please”? There is enough junk mail and spam as it is without campaigning politicians adding to it.
Before the options of text and email are dived into headlong by candidates, I would ask them to please re-read George Orwell’s 1984 carefully - paying particular attention to the idea of Big Brother.