Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Register Now To Avoid Disappointment

Adrian Shaughnessy

Since voting in elections has become about as popular as holidays in North Korea, The Electoral Commission has decided that public money needs to be spent persuading us to re-acquire the habit of putting crosses on ballot papers.

A modest, unpretentious TV commercial is currently reminding us not to allow anything to get in the way of performing our democratic birthright to appoint the person of our choice to represent us in Parliament. Like forgetting to register to vote.

The story of a young, independent, dog-owning female called Liz is offered to us as a warning. A modern everywoman, Liz is dressed in Gap and lives on her own. We know this because why else would she take her dog to a polling booth? (Are dogs even allowed in polling booths?) We see her
emerging from a grim looking block of flats. A sub-Amelie mandolin and piano soundtrack accompanies her as she sashays through the local park. She could be taking part in a low-key yogurt commercial. Brimming with democratic intent she arrives at her nearest polling station

Yet before she can fulfil her electoral duty, she walks Marcel Marceau-style into an invisible glass wall and lands on her back. Poor Liz. She allowed something to get in her way; she neglected to register to vote.

On their website, The Electoral Commission announce themselves to be an independent body set up by the UK Parliament, “Our aim is,” they say, “integrity and public confidence in the democratic process.”

Integrity and public confidence, eh? Hardly words we currently associate with our governing class.
Of course, our reluctance to vote might be caused by any number of reasons: the fact that the insides of polling stations look like sets from an episode of Dad’s Army, for example. Or it might be because of those annoying people with rosettes who ask us for our voter’s roll number as we leave the polling station. A more likely reason, however, is the massive zeitgeist-weighted feeling that all politicians are greedy “cabs for hire” without a shred of integrity between them.

Will this ad persuade people to register? Perhaps. But I think it will take more than sassy Liz and her dog to shift the abscess of public disillusionment with politics from the national consciousness

1 comment:

  1. I wrote about this advert on my blog. The dog passes through the glass wall without any problem. So to answer your question about whether dogs are allowed in polling stations, it appears they are, but only if they are registered to vote.