Have you ever played the "work out what this advertisement is for" game? It’s where you have to work out what an unfamiliar ad is advertising, before it becomes blindingly obvious. I’ve been playing it a bit recently, because I don’t watch a great deal of commercial television. But now it’s moved to another medium. A few days ago, a glossy leaflet arrived in the mailbox. This was the first bit I saw:

Ah. Black and white picture, with ray of sunlight. Must be Christians. But no! Worse! I looked on the other side and realised that horror of horrors, it was political junkmail!

Yes, it’s Federal election time again. Which means we’re going to get bombarded with horrific images of politicians grinning inanely, arguing with each other and trying any tactic they can to get our votes. How can one avoid it? Turn off the TV and radio, cancel the newspaper and bury yourself in the doona for the next month? It might almost be worth it.

I glanced at the rest of the leaflet, wondering if anybody really reads these things and thinks "Yeah, I think I’ll switch my vote from <insert other party here> and switch to this mob instead! They sure know how to put together a good leaflet!"

Another bit of it said "Heading in the right direction". I looked below it at the face of my ugly git of a local member, and thought yeah, maybe they are heading in the right direction. I see he’s finally shaved off that hideous beard he used to have, with no moustache, which made him look like a gnome. That’s got to be a move in the right direction.

Next to him was a picture of Prime Minister Garrison, err that is Howard. And in big letters it said "And there’s more to be done". So this was the government, pleading to be voted back in, obviously. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, though Howard’s hobnobbing with world leaders during the terrorism crisis probably hasn’t hurt their chances.

Oh well, I suppose this is the kind of junk we’ll have to put up with, from all sides, for the next few weeks. Everybody, please, stay calm, and try not to panic.

(No, I haven’t forgotten that last winter I spent a couple of weekends dropping political propaganda into people’s letterboxes. That was completely different. None of the stuff I distributed had pictures of politicians that could have frightened small children.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.