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It's a menagerie out there

  • Martha Kearney
  • 8 Nov 06, 04:23 PM

So one of the most negative campaigns in recent US political history has come to an end. It certainly provided great material for David Grossman's piece last week (watch it here).

Although attack ads aren't allowed in Britain, the political parties certainly study what works on the other side of the Atlantic and we tend to see it in posters. Remember Demon Eyes? Or Michael Howard as Fagin?

chicken203.jpgDave the Chameleon was thought to be a bit too cute. One of my favourite US ones was when Republicans let loose a bunch of chickens at a Democrat barbecue because the candidate was "too chicken" to take part in a debate. Of course that idea was copied here by the tabloids when a giant chicken followed Tony Blair in 1997 because he didn't want to debate. A rival newspaper hired a fox to go after the chicken.

A giant chicken was also deployed when Conservative candidate Nick Hawkins went on "a chicken run" to find a safe seat. Then there were the giant groundhogs at the last election...

I am wasted on Newsnight when I could be writing a thesis about Giant Animals in Modern British Political Discourse. Anyway why don't you try your hand at a British version of an attack ad? Plenty of material these days.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:48 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Hi Newsnight

I just love this site -so creative its wonderful, far more interesting than your subjects
may i suggest Ms kearney you write the book you suggest, sounds like a great idea, and I hope the idea isn't borrowed by someone else. otherwise known as plaigarism -really gets my goat! they're everywhere!

that said theres a lot of it about
borrowing ideas, sometimes a good thing so long as the author of the idea is acknowleged, but does this happen at Westminster?

hasnt Mr Cameron said he will not announce his big ideas yet as they will be borrowed by Labour?

so perhaps we we could have some sort of attack add on the unacknowledged borrowing of ideas

something like that chap who came around stealing the milk before you know who.

suddenly the burrowing creature appears behind someone and lifts their idea and is gone again

maybe a pink mole dressed like a robber with a swag bag.

or a kangeroo that boings into the picture or even

a magpie

yes maybe thats the one, that swoops down on unsuspecting improvisors....

and perhaps (the outdated image) of a fercocious looking Librarian who wags her crooked finger at the copyright rules...

By the way thanks for the Oh Newsnight opportunity which has got me and I'm sure a lot of others thinking....

best wishes

Bob Goodall

  • 2.
  • At 06:50 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Gehrhart Knickernicker wrote:

How about "Ticking Timebomb Tony" becuase "you never know when the next political bombshell is going to go off, the next bomb´s going to go off or he´s going to finally clear off" on the other side of the house you have David Cameron
as the Incredible Hulk, green with envy and an absolute raving monster at PMQ´s.

How about:

Tony Blair: Bin Ladens second best recruitment consultant after GW Bush! The man that lied about WMD in Iraq, the man that lied about cash for honours and the man that has destroyed more freedoms in the UK than Al-Queda ever could.

Abdicated responsibility for domestic policy to the EU. Abdicated responsibility for foreign policy to Washington's neo-con extremists. This left him lots of time for what? Dumming down education, ruining the NHS and taking corruption to a much deeper and insideous level than the Tories ever could.

Coward, cheat and liar. Blair. He should be charged under his own laws with the promotion of terrorism.

Only three so far? Shame.

May I suggest to the Tories an homage to their famous poster, this time with a line of pension-aged folk lining up at the factory gates:

'Labour Is Working... 'Til You Drop.'

I pondered an asterisk that would point out that the only ones who left in work on the government side would be younger box tickers monitoring our progress to ensure enough is skimmed off for their subsequent comfortable retirement.

  • 5.
  • At 12:26 AM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Helen Ingram wrote:

on the subject of debates John McDonnell has challenged Brown to a debate, haven't heard that Brown will do it so we may need to get the chicken costume out...

  • 6.
  • At 12:32 AM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • Helen Ingram wrote:

john McDonnell was going to challenge Brown to a debate; if Brown won't do it we'll have to get the chicken out!.....

Finding Neverland film-maker Marc Forster will direct the latest James Bond adventure, due out in 2008...

Finding Neverland film-maker Marc Forster will direct the latest James Bond adventure, due out in 2008...

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