Elections are about taking sides 


Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, today unveiled a poster in advance of local and regional elections that are taking place across the UK on Thursday 5th May 2016.

The difficulty with developing a single poster for a set of elections which include the Welsh Assembly, Northern Irish Assembly, Scottish Parliament, London Assembly, English local councils and Police and Crime Commisioners is that the issues at stake differ wildly in each contest. 

However, there is one point of probable consistency: turnout will likely be very low.

Scottish Parliamentary elections tend to see turnout of around 50%. As this year’s election seems like a one-sided contest it could well be lower; it wouldn’t be surprising if voters stay at home because they assume the SNP will win regardless of their ballot.

In the London Assembly election in 2012 just under 41% voted.  The Welsh Assembly has never seen more than 50% turnout.

Low turnout tends to impact Labour more unfavourably than other parties.

My guess is that the Labour Party reckon their best chance of a decent showing is to convince their hardcore supporters to get out and vote.

This poster speaks to the tribally loyal.  It tacitly reminds supporters that, for all the recent internal turmoil, the real enemy isn’t within.

The assumption that ‘the many’ will intrinsically understand that Labour is on their side, the lack of a sensical rationale and the dryness of the execution won’t bother the hardcore supporters.

To quote a tweet by Rafael Behr of The Guardian, the poster basically just says “Vote Labour because LABOUR!” 

That won’t do anything for a floating voter, but it will be enough to do the job it’s intended to do.

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