The perils of an online election campaign and Kevin the carrot | Jabbering Journo column

Let’s be honest, no-one knows who or what to believe as this General Election looms.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 1:33 pm
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 1:34 pm
Vote for Kevin

What with fake news, real news and everyone’s opinion, however outlandish, being treated with more or less the same level of wide-eyed belief or scepticism, you’d be forgiven for thinking this year’s best-selling Christmas gift would be a carrot called Kevin. (Oh, wait..)

The continued dominance of social media to influence you, when you don’t even realise you are being influenced, plus the Trump-tastic trend to call everything we don’t like ‘fake news’ (I didn’t murder him yer honour, it’s fake news I tell you..) is so confusing.

Now political parties are printing newspapers which look very similar to actual newspapers in a disingenuous move reminiscent of dystopian science fiction a la George Orwell’s 1984.

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The sheer arrogance of this – which assumes voters are eminently gullible – is staggering.

Meanwhile, it’s safe to say we are a society scarred by the Brexit vote – which was so long ago and we’ve never heard the end of – and the promises made by parties across the colour spectrum.

So as the ballot creeps closer and the promises get more wildly people-pleasing and accusations ever-more calculated, it’s wise to step back and think about what values we actually need from a new government, away from the frantic politicking headlines favoured by your Facebook feed.

It’s easy to forget the algorithms are playing games with your mind and forming your opinions for you.

Think about those shoes you once Googled – and ho the ad reappears in your feed until you buy them – the same thing is happening with politics.

To that end, nobody could be blamed if they were tempted to pretend it's not happening in favour of staying in and watching repeats of a It’s A Wonderful Life until Christmas arrives.

Things were simpler back then..

But voting is still important, however undecided we feel and however cold the weather.

We are not a democratic society without it.

Personally, I’ll be voting for Kevin the carrot – he’s promised nothing.