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May 05

On the Streets

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One of the things I do like about election time are the posters. I like the posters displayed in people’s windows, although that seems to be less and less common these days. The only posters on our street were ours and the flat across the road where someone else we know lives, a very active labour enthusiast. Ours have come down since we’re trying to sell the flat!! (property before politics = sign of the times). But I especially like the posters on lampposts, which are only allowed to go up in the week before the elections. (Saturday night I think: Lib Dems were early since some had gone up at the edge of the Meadows by the time we left the restaurant on Friday night.) I like the sense of political theatre taking to the streets, and although I was tempted to shout abuse at the nationalists putting up theirs yesterday afternoon, I like the thought that this is campaigning at the local level, one of the few really visible bits of party activity which is not driven from central offices (i.e. posters >>> PEBs no contest). I like the colours, and the gentle sense of chaos they give to drab streets. I can’t imagine anyone being persuaded to vote by seeing a poster on a lamppost, but maybe that’s why I like it: one of the few times people involved in politics at the constituency level are allowed to advertise not so much their political party but politics itself. This election may not be much of a political event (in the sense of either a tough competition, or of a genuine choice) but as a celebration of the possibility of politics (and therefore of its possible future reinvention or renewal) the street posters are like a visual check that the body politic is still displaying its vital signs.

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