Monday, September 29, 2008

Vote for us because...we're least pathetic?

Now that the ANC had finished playing presidential musical chairs I suppose the next bit of real political excitement we will get is the run-up to the general elections next year.

And once again get inundated with political party advertising full to the brim with undeliverable promises and vicious enough attacks on opposition parties that, by comparison, will make pit bulls look like poodles.

What I don't understand is why political party advertising is not subject to the same regulation as any other advertising?

As any commercial advertiser will tell you, when it comes to misleading advertising in South Africa, our Advertising Standards Authority is wide awake, ever vigilant and comes down hard on any company even vaguely stretching the truth.

But, somehow political parties don't have to abide by these rules and can be as cavalier as they like. There is a law in this country that forbids any company from making comparisons with another brand and from attacking competitors in ads. This is not an ASA regulations but something that falls under the Copyright Act. But somehow, politicians don't give a toss about this particular law. Which, I suppose is hardly surprising.

On the other hand, I suppose if political parties had to play by the advertising rules, they probably wouldn't be able to advertise at all. Because the truth would hurt like hell. /In the lead

Imagine ads like these from the ANC:

"We Believe in Freedom of Speech but only when we say something. If anyone who is not an ANC member says anything we don't like, we will either sue them or ask our Youth league to go kill someone.

"We respect the Judicial System but only when judges rule in our favour - in all other cases we think they're a scurrilous, conniving, treacherous bunch.

"We Respect The Sanctity of Human Life - Except when our Youth league wants to make a point."

"Vote ANC for a United South Africa. (terms and conditions: We reserve the right to fight among ourselves, but you can't. Sorry, if you don't belong to the ANC, that's life - get used to it.)

"Vote ANC for a better South Africa - excludes housing, protection from crime, any sort if help if you've got HIV/AIDS and from being wiped out by maniac taxi drivers."

Fighting back?
And how about the opposition parties:

"Vote for the Democratic Alliance - We stand for everything the ANC doesn't"

"Join the DA today - and avoid the hassle of actually governing while you have a huge amount of fun opposing absolutely everything."

"Vote for the ID and relax - you won't have to do anything except go on and on and on about the arms deal."

"Vote IFP - yes we're mainly Zulus and yes Buthelezi is the boss and yes Jacob Zuma is also a Zulu but he isn't one of us and we wish he was, and yes our support base is mainly in KZN and yes we do get very excitable at times and yes we don't really have a hope in hell of getting into power. And yes we have had our share of scandal and corruption. And yes we do rather like our cultural weapons which we admit are quite dangerous..."

"Vote Freedom Front Plus - and don't just dream about a white Christmas"

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