Monday, 16 July 2007

Why I orda....

Much as I like the Simpsons, I find this kind of publicity disgusting. It's almost as bad as the Playstation 2 graffitti stencils. Not to be a snob, but I really do hate the way these stunts parasitically feed off genuine culture while defacing it in the process. Is nowhere safe from advertising!?

You know what makes it worse as well? I've gone and written about it and spread the filth further. Or at least i would have done if anyone read this blog. i hope someone finds this while doing post-mortem on their market strategy. Should give them a giggle.

Iconoclasm (the destruction of an image) is one thing in the name of art, politics or even just genuinely having a laugh, but as pre-determined strategically targeted publicity, it makes me sick. (Someone's getting paid a lot of money for the kind of idea that any 12 year old boy could have here) Andy Warhol has a lot to answer for, and yet, while he sold a lot of paintings, I love the way he did it. It's a fine line, and interesting one to look at.

If only I was still studying visual culture, I feel an essay coming on....

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Brown not looking too Green

The Marine Bill, which we saw a draft version of this year, is intended to set up wildlife reserves in the seas around Britain. This would give a space to recover for the many species with falling populations in our seas, including the harbour porpoise, common skate, long snouted seahorse, and basking shark. The bill would also help planning for offshore windfarms and tidal energy.

Unfortunately, Mr Brown has decided to leave this Bill off of his list of legilation for next year. This does not bode well for the other big piece of environmental legislation which has been included, the Climate Change Bill. So much for the Red/Green adgenda.

More from WWF on this issue.
Earlier worring evidence that Brown is not Green.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Its just hot air

At last, an 'official' study which completely debunks Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen's 1991 theory that 'cosmic rays' from the sun are to blame for climate change, not man. Although their evidence has been proved to be flawed many times before, at least this should shut my mates up who continue to defend this idea....

Although it's still shocking how many people in the UK are still confused by the issue.

Monday, 9 July 2007

The Dark Arts

One thing I've kept quiet about lately is that I'm currently trying to get a job in Political Communications, Public Affairs (i.e. lobbying), campaigns or Public Relations.

Since studying Art History - i.e the realtionship between cultural propaganda and power - I've spent a long time detesting PR and advertising, which I see as essentially interest led corporate/political propaganda that shapes the way people think, or at least interpret the world around them.

Now, the first thing that people usually say when I say this is that "people are not that stupid, you know." Quite right, but this article from De-Smog Blog has a great explanation of how this works.

So why would I want to go into this shady world?

A few reasons:
1. Know your enemy - I want to understand how this works and the best way to do that is from exprience.
2. Fight fire with fire - There are different kinds of public relations, and not all of them are bad. Every organisation needs communicators, including the ethical ones. I want to represent those causes/companies/organisations which benefit people and planet.
3. Be the change you want to see - I want to get involved with conscious communication (i.e. education) to counter act the un-conscious - not leading people by the nose but helping them think for themelves.
4. Nothing is black and white - There's people with good intentions in (almost) every company or organisation. It's important to work together to improve things rather than just complain about what other people do.
5. I wish to learn how to communicate rather than rant. It's much harder. ;)

So there you go.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Dear Mr Brown...

Well with Tony gone, everyone suddenly wants Gordon Brown to do them a favour. The papers and magazines last week were full of full page adverts from pressure groups asking him to fulfil promises or make a bold policy break in a different direction.

It seems at first as if they were placed too. Gordon is keen to put as much ground between himself and Tony as possible, so is open to policies through which he might do so. That means he's listening to public opinion and may quite likely be swayed into things while he's still fresh in the job.

He's made some encouraging noises already. Keen to exit the shadow of Iraq, there has been talk of withdrawl soon. Keen to appear less authoritarian, the language has changed with regards to the 'law on terror' and Islam following the recent bungled attacks. Keen to appear less controlling and make a clean break from 'sofa politics', on Tuesday Brown announced greater powers for Parliament, relinquishing the 'Royal perogative' of the government to go to war without a vote, sign foreign treaties, recall or summon parliament. He also called for a public debate on the case for a British Bill of Rights or a written constitution.

So far so good. However, many of these changes, while welcome, are not particularly revolutionary and will see little complaint from opposition parties. More to the point is when he will address the looming issue of Lords Reform (not very popular with Cameron's lot), whether he will really involve people more in policy via a Citizen's convention (thus really relinquishing control), do something to limit airport expansion, do something about buy to let properties (not popular with lots of people who got rich in under Labour), tax private equity (not popular with Brown's mates in the city) or scrap the expensive and inefficient ID cards. The last one is especially unlikely to be as it would see Labour lose face to the Tories who have already made their U-turn.

With the Conservatives about to launch a major policy offensive following their extensive review though, it will be interesting to see what Mr Brown is holding back for later.