Wednesday, 2 June 2010

"Whatever Works"

When people sit in a backroom to plan a political campaign I've tended to find that there is a significant amount of humour. It is needed to calm tempers as a particular word in a slogan is argued over again and again. It is needed to raise spirits as voting data or polling is analysed for meaning. It's needed to deal with frustration with voters as focus group reports are trawled through to identify what their core concerns are among the laundry list of contradictory messages you get in such reports. Part of the humour is invariably about mad slogans or insane policies with some fantasising about the fun it would be too run such a campaign. A glimpse of freedom from planning, message management and handholding candidates.

Of course it never happens but the wonder is always there what would happen if it ever was tried - Iceland has given us the answer.

The Best Party, a collection of comedians and arty types, was launched last year on the promise that:

" will not honour any of the promises given prior to elections. It claims all other parties are secretly corrupt, so it promises to be openly corrupt."

It's policy portfolio included (non-)promises of:

"free towels in all city swimming pools, a polar bear for the city zoo, a Disneyland at the city airport and a drug-free parliament by 2020."

Riding the wave of public anger about the Icelandic economic crisis and using the slogan "Whatever works", the party performed very well in the Rejavik local government elections polling the highest among all the parties. Below is their 'PEB'.

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