Poster boys (and girls)

For readers from outside Ireland, let me just point out that we are currently in the middle of a general election campaign, to culminate in the election itself on February 25. I intend to have a close look at the parties’ manifestos once we have these, but for now a different concern: election posters.

I have witnessed and followed election campaigns in at least four different countries while living there, and Ireland has one unique feature: the tendency for political parties to put up literally thousands of posters on lamp posts all over the country. Election posters on billboards are common in other countries, but not this total saturation everywhere. And it’s not pretty. Here are some views:

The recent weather has not been kind to the posters, and many of them have been blown off the lamp posts and are now littering the environment, while others have managed to cling on (such as the one on the top right) but are now no advertisement for their owners. Others are weirdly opaque. A visitor to Ireland asked me yesterday, with reference to the bottom right diamond-shaped poster, ‘Who is Lucinda Truth, and does she live up to her name?’ The offending litterer here is Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton, and who thought that putting up a poster with ‘Lucinda Truth’ (or ‘Lucinda Courage’, which is another one) is a good idea?

And what can I say about fresh-faced Dylan Haskins (lower left), except that his mother is probably even now out looking for him. He has the rather odd slogan ‘It starts here’ on all his posters, which one passer-by misread as ‘I[nformation] T[echnology] starts here.’ Or maybe not misread?

Overall, however, all this postering/littering is just mad, and cannot possibly persuade anyone to vote in any particular way. No wait, I’m wrong. It is persuading me, all other things being equal, to give my vote to the party that puts up the fewest posters.

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7 Comments on “Poster boys (and girls)”

  1. wendymr Says:

    You haven’t seen Canada, or specifically Ontario, at election time. Every intersection or patch of waste ground becomes a sea of posters and signs. Election run-up periods over here also seem to be longer than in Ireland or the UK, so they’re up for at least a couple of months.

    Some candidates, or their teams, also seem to be challenged when it comes to distinguishing between waste/common ground and private property: during the last municipal election, we came home to find a candidate’s sign stuck in our front garden. Our house is on what’s known here as a ‘corner lot’, but is still clearly a private house. To add insult to injury, the candidate was an individual we had no intention of voting for.

  2. Vincent Says:

    As far as I’m concerned the damn things are a traffic hazard. And if we had a traffic corp deserving of the name there would be a blizzard of paper hitting the circuit court. Especially for those posters that have any resemblance to general road signage under the Road Traffic Acts.

  3. Perry Share Says:

    We in Ireland seem to be more enamoured of the posters on lamposts; in many other European and Middle Eastern countries the billboard or pasted poster seems to be more the norm. Maybe it is a consequence of our persecution of poor old Bill Posters – always open to ‘Prosecution’?

  4. Cian Says:

    I think most of the political parties would be over the moon to see them banned. While they do make a difference to how people vote, the difference seems to be almost entirely based on people having less than their opposition, and therefore not being taken seriously.

    Given that we’re all keeping up with the jonses, it’d be sensible for government to come in, and either ban, or massively reduce the amount of, posters in use.

  5. Jim Daly Says:

    The response I got when I asked why: “It’s the way is was always done, so that’s the way we have do it”.

    And these candidates speak of reform!?!?

  6. Clare Says:

    I heard once that there was a local election and all parties agreed not to put up posters and to donate the postering costs to local charities instead. Great idea, except no-one knew the election was happening and voter turnout was down phenomenally.

    I’m not sure if it’s an urban myth though.

    The postering drives me nuts too. All that waste! They are quite the fashion statement in student housing though, with most of them used as dart boards!

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