Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Political Adverts Should be Allowed on TV

Now that gambking adverts are going to be allowed on TV isn't it time we reconsidered the ban on political advertising? It is ridiculous that you can see a political advert at a cinema but not on your TV screen. I don't actually think many political parties would want to pay the cost of them anyway, but in a free country, surely they should be entitled to pay for them if they choose to.

Discuss.

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why not - as long as the parties' claims and promises were made subject to the Trade Descriptions Act

achilles said...

well, I guess ITV needs all the money it can get these days......

Iain Dale's Rent Boy Gimp Friend said...

I think we should have adverts for the special services Iain likes to "buy in"...

Anonymous said...

Why not, just another bit of rubbish ,you can't tell the difference between adverts and programmes these days, both are bad.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Politicians access to the mainstream news media is enough for me without the idea that they will start using state funding to pay for TV ads as well.

It will all be "knocking" copy anyway and no issues would ever get discussed again.

mark williams said...

TV advertising is generally expensive. that means it needs paying for with money that the parties don't have, which gives them the temptation to go for party funding, so no it is a bad idea, a bit like giving a bottle of whisky to a recovering alcoholic.

Anonymous said...

God - TV needs political Ads like a whole in the head - it's all tripe on TV anyway - only the lowest of society bother to watch, so there's no point..

and anyway - Gambling advertising should never be allowed - big business has bought the rights and swerved common sense - may as well let cigarrete companies advertise again.

all in MY opinion.

BJ said...

The libertarian in me thinks yes, the thought of the BNP buying up a three-minute slot in the middle of Coronation Street makes me think no. Not sure.

Adam said...

In my opinion, Iain, the political adverts in the US aren't just tedious, they're bad for politics. If you want increases in personality politics, vacuous allegations and for politicians to spend a really considerable amount more of their time raising money, then it'd make sense, I suppose.

To my mind, all it does is make politics a lot more expensive and rule out views that can't attract money; increasing the money in politics increases the attraction and rewards of corruption, as well. When people consider candidates' chances here, 'can they raise millions of dollars' is the first concern.

I don't live in the UK at the moment, but rather, in the US, so I guess that I don't get a say. But, sweet Jesus, I can't believe that anyone that's sat through a campaign here in the US would think that political television advertising provides a net benefit to the level of political discourse or the outcome of elections. It just becomes a financial arms race.

Anonymous said...

But this is from the same person who thinks elections are too expensive ?

And is it a co-incidence that Tories can afford to 'splash the cash' a bit more at present ? Not really sure we are ready for 'Swift Vets for Truth' type nonsense over here yet...

chatterbox said...

I am sorry Iain, but I think the experience of the negative campaigning seen in America would be enough for me to be happy that the present rules remain as they are.

Asher said...

It's not a bad point in theory, but I'm afraid your involvement in Doughty Street doesn't make you the best-placed person to make it, Iain.

In practice though, TV party-political advertising in the states has severely dumbed-down political debate in the States, don't you think?

Hmmmmm said...

Iain, under the current leadership of the Conservative party that would simply make the membership and activist base completely irrelevant since Hilton et al would no doubt rush to replace proper face to face campaigning with glossy pc Notting Hill approved TV adverts instead. That way they could completely ignore the members in the happy knowledge that they don't think that they need them anymore.

Chad said...

Funded by the taxpayer through State funding Iain?

And if not directly from the political parties, but "aligned" groups does that just highlight how meaninless the proposed cap on spending is when it only applies to the parties, and not also their associated/supportive groups too?

Iain Dale said...

Chad, you know perfectly well that I oppose State funding for party political activities.

I must admit, I find the comments on this thread deeply disappointing so far.

Liberal Republican said...

Couldn't agree more.

Laws will have to be altered for political parties, but im not sure if Ofcom and co will be supportive.

Liberal Republican said...

This article from last year might interest you btw

http://www.guardian.co.uk/animalrights/story/0,,1827409,00.html

Chris Paul said...

I'm against political adverts. The rampant inflation in selectoral and electoral battles in the USA is NOT the way to go. Perhaps some change in the PPB rules so that parties can opt for some 10-20-30-60 second slots instead of some of their long forms would be of interest.

But the last thing I want to see is BAe paying for adverts for Saudi Arabian liberal values, or Esso bigging up the most warlike (idling tank going nowhere = 10 gallons per hour), or Raytheon or Lockheed proslytising on Cluster Bombs.

Newmania said...

ADAM said (Incorrectly) In my opinion, Iain, the political adverts in the US aren't just tedious, they're bad for politics. If you want increases in personality politics, vacuous allegations...

Au contraire silly Adam , while you may think that the drivel swapped between professional politicians is highly wrought fine filigree work ,it is for the most part people disguising their utter lack of experience with jargon.
The lack of political debate outside the printed media gives it a peculiar musty atmosphere without anyone having to make the effort to communicate to the voter and tax payer. I am constantly amazed at the rubbish that politicians are allowed to get away with and when they are tempted into the mainstream media their feet of clay often show .

It would be a great way to reconnect the general public with their country and what has happened to it . I would think a Party like UKIP would make especially good use of ythe outlet as the EU position pretty much survives purely on obscurity and apathy.

I do not agree that the person of a politicians is irrelevant to his role and I am sick of the pretence that media and political types actually know anything or have "expertise" which they do not
Their sacramental role is the most important part and the question “ Can I trust you “, the most crucial in Political life. I detest the elitism of the current dispensation and its attendant qualifications of political correctness.

Adverts would be a good start and there are plenty of very cheap places to put them now . Goodness it just occurred to me it would be a source of revenue for Doughty Street …well well well and Iiain in favour who`d have thought it

ADAM ....The US system is far better than what we have where the whole process is a fetid and nasty as an old ladiues arm pit . The bracing deodorant of advertising is exactly what we need

The Druid said...

Why not? Because parties with more financial muscle will buy air tiime and thus have a greater impact on the minds of the public. Those with money can buy more 'free' speech. Money and the quest for it distort politics enough as it is - viz cash for honours.

Free speech is not the only right in play here. So is equality and fair demoractic processes. No doubt one of the reasons that the limit on candidate expenditure was brought in long ago was to ensure a level playing field and to prevent those with dough using money to influence the process in an unfair way.

AnyoneButBlair said...

Great idea. I'm a libertarian and politicians should be able to buy advertising space, in the same way I can if I want to sell widgets.
It should be clearly regulated during election times to ensure balance and proportionality so we don't have a campaign-finance arms race as in the US (er, but we do hence cash for honours...), but other than that why not. If you find the ads tenious then change channel or trun off, or tendentions then complain to ofcom or ofjobsforlabourplacemen or some other quango stuffed full of labour cronies....

Anonymous said...

Surely with adverts like 18DS's it would dumd down the whole political process even more?

achilles said...

iain dale 1210pm

Mr Dale is disappointed. Oh dear....! He's obviously not attracting the right sort of reader....

I'm sure Verity will be up soon and beavering away.

Labour could advertise day in, day out and I would NEVER vote for them ever. There you go, that'll save them a few million...

Chad said...

I wasn't knocking you Iain, more highlighting the absurdity of the proposed cap in spending that will not affect your proposal.

The Tory Party might be limited, but Stephan would be free to fund as many pro-Tory ads as his deep pockets can handle.

This would lead to a Labour-aligned Mr Shakespeare equivalent to do the same, then you have some political negative, nasty ad war escalation etc.

And this would be the new "cleaned up" political world?

tory boys never grow up said...

If you believe in free markets for everything then this is an entirely logical idea - but so would be allowing the selling of votes to the highest bidder.

What is really wrong is that captive audiences at cinemas may be forced to watch such adverts - if ever I come across a Tory advert at the cinema (or a church service at a supermarket, for that matter)I shall exercise my democratic right to heckle and disagree there and then. What about the freedom not to have garbage rammed down you throat.

How long do you think it would take the marketing people to convince the political parties that the only way they could win the election would be through TV adverts - and before you know it all the parties will have to raise considerably greater sums of money? And how would they do that?

Quite the most stupid idea we've had from you in a long time Iain!

Adam said...

Newmania, I just don't experience what you're talking about as the case in the US. You can perhaps make a case that advertising could bring those advantages in the UK, but I don't see that it has, in matter of fact, brought those advantages in the US.

You may have had different experiences to mine from whenever you've been here in the US during electoral campaigns but man, I can't reconcile your statements with what I've seen. At least, as someone who isn't registered to vote here, I don't get the endless recorded phone messages around election time, but the television advertising is far from shining a light on anything positive, in my opinion. Your second paragraph on 'feet of clay' is exactly the sort of thing that television advertising is used to cover, leveraging enormous sums of money to gloss over candidate weakness, whilst raising spurious attacks against opponents that are often, at best, misleading.

The role of money in US elections almost can't be understated, and television advertising is a huge part of that. You can talk about cheap places to get television advertising, but firstly, competition for them will decrease their cheapness and secondly and more importantly, the real impact will come from the expensive advertising so that it where parties will wish to go and to do that, they require money.

Television advertising is allowed here on First Amendment grounds, based on a quite proper reading of the First Amendment. I personally think that had the Founders anticipated what was to come, carving out an exception for television advertising could easily have passed. That horse has long bolted here, but the UK has a decision to make and it's one that can't be easily unmade; my personal experience of US life and watching US politics leads me to believe that introducing television political advertising in the UK is a bad idea. Just my opinion, primarily based on my experience of both living in the UK and the US.

Adam said...

I should add that I'm a big fan of American politics in many respects and something of a US politics junky. In my opinion, political television advertising is both the worst of American politics and does serious harm, however.

Croydonian said...

Absolutely. Freedom of speech includes commercial freedom of speech, or rather should.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

A ban on TV advertising is one way of capping election expenditure and, a great point in its favour, almost impossible to circumvent.

On the other hand, us libertarians don't like banning free speech and the BBC's take on current affairs gets the left off to a flying start at the licence payers' expense.

Johnny Norfolk said...

No thanks Iain. We have enough spin and gesturing with out adverts to make me even more upset on just how removed from reality or politicians have become.

AnyoneButBlair said...

The best ad would be NuLab's achievements over the past 10 years.
Once they had got past interest rate independence for the Bank of England they would still have another 28 seconds of their 30 second ad to pad out. This would cause Anthony Minghella (the director) huge problems to fill. Perhaps he could show an ad for his new film or a quick clip of The English Patient to plug the DVD?

Newmania said...

but so would be allowing the selling of votes to the highest bidder.


Said Tory Boy etc. .....yawn

No you earwig brained onanist . A vote is not a commodity or a service it is a right that is closely connected with your right to be free it is an expression of our belief ( on the right) that we should be at Liberty and rule ourselves. You are likening allowing access to politics through a market system to reintroducing slavery ,and in that , you are making the lobotomised error , the left have made since the 19th century , that capitalism enslaves. It sets us free and it is demonstrably the process that has Liberated state serfs . It is also typical that you equate an ordinary person with an inert cabbage incapable of discrimination and choice. That is what you would like but that is not what people are.

Its nice to see that there are still some of you left I feel you should be stuffed and put into a museum for children to marvel at.
Meanwhile bring on the adverts let the coffers of Doughty Street be groaning with filthy lucre and let freedom skip and gambol though the land like a Spring lamb.

The more I think about it the better I like it ..and Iain himself might snag some juicy consultancy work on the media/Politics interface. All the better he needs some new ties

( Quite badly)

Adam said...

I can see the arguments in favour of political advertising and maybe it'd work. US politics is an example of it not working, though; whatever it does turn out to be, it shouldn't be like it is here.

If you think that it'll somehow be an antidote to perceived problems with the BBC, I very much doubt it or, at least, I very much doubt that it'll be on the top five 'best ways to deal with perceived problems at the BBC'. While I'm on the subject of US comparisons, the problem with the so-called 'Mainstream Medie' (a detestable phrase used by whiners on Left anr Right) is not that it is clearly biased one way or the other but that it is crap. BBC news reporting, bias or not, kicks CNN, MSNBC and FOX into the weeds. Maybe that's a price worth paying for increasingly competitive news coverage, but people should at least do the comparison.

Ed said...

I think parties should be allowed to do whatever they like with their money, as long as they are tightly regulated on how they can raise it.

The £50k donation limit should be accompanied by full disclosure and some sort of system to prevent millionaires giving their cats, staff, children, etc. £50k to donate to their party.

Ed said...

Can parties spend unlimited amounts on print and hoarding adverts?

Newmania said...

Adam Adam Adam …….. The US and the UK are not the same place its dangerous and misleading to compare the two. Simply put we are much better at almost everything and undoubtedly the long list would grow by one viz political adverts . Presentation of political issues in the US is always jaw droppingly coarse from a UK perspective and would not work here . Look at the way mass products have to approached differently often translated through a prsim charming self deprecation and ironically presented inference ( note charming self deprecation so far……)…..ahem
I can see that the usual sharp eyes would have to directed at any attempt to evade caps on spending but in any case the gratuitous displays of wealth that Americans enjoy would be something of a turn off here . There is no question of buying electoral success, and if that is what you are talking about then you are talking about a different subject.
You are confusing money with what is simply another medium . There will not be enough money for glossy mini flicks during the cup final . I envisage the usual gargoyles turning up late at night and most importantly on the new media that is reducing Prices . You say ……..

”The role of money in US elections almost can't be understated “

But we are not talking about additional money only an alternative way of using it .
I know what is on Iain’s mind. It is the thought of presiding over another empire of virtual media in which he sits collecting the tithe for displays of plumage in his Doughty Street nest. You are right there would be competition and this forces prices up in the short term s in the long term as the market develop prices come down .

Given the lack of huge resources here I imagine the internet being used the recent Doughty Street efforts have shown how positive a step this can be

Don`t spoil it with money , I agree , but don’t try to hide politics in the broad sheets and pseudo learned chatter of the media classes

Adam if you could see the warm sincerity of my face as a smile invitingly at you with a perfect set of luminously white teeth you would be even more convinced…now I `m doing a matey thumbs up…see this doesn`t work without pictures

The Ludingtonian said...

I quite agree, Iain.

Isn't it curious that those who seek limit political advertising do so because of the perceived negative impact such advertising would have?

But why should it? Is it because the unenlightened mass oiks such as I who sit on their arses, staring at the idiot box for hours on end, cannot be trusted to distinguish advertising from facts? Are we, the great unwashed legions of this land, really so utterly stupid that we are incapable of finding negative campaigning repulsive and refusing to partake of it?

Perhaps we'd better just dump the whole bloody democratic process overboard as quickly as we can and turn over the management of our puny, pathetic, unexamined lives to those who know what's best for us.

dizzy said...

I'm all in favour of it, mainly because I don't believe it is right to control political messages in order to remove the ones you don't like. Be they Lockheed proslytising on Cluster Bombs, the BNP shouting about repatriation, or Livingstone telling us how Cuba and Venzuela are flourshing democracies with no political oppression whatsoever. The only thing I might do is restrict them to a maximum of 60 seconds to avoid boredom.

wrinkled weasel said...

I declare an interest. I don't like advertising on Television at all. It interrupts the programme I am trying to enjoy. Occasionally, an advert catches the imagination of the public and becomes valid in its own right. I am thinking of the recent Sony Bravia campaign which did far more than say "buy me"

And that's just it. Political advertising cannot transcend the "buy me" phase. It is inherently crass and unsubtle. It is always preachy, and people don't want to be preached to. It mimics the oleaginous wink of the fair ground barker who promises far more once you are on the inside.

If you are citing, in support of your argument, the terrible dreck-ridden "World without America" ad, I shall be flabbergasted. If you want to sell politics like cheeseburgers, go to America.

Not here, and not until you prise the remote control from my cold dead hands.

dizzy said...

obviously I am referring to my boredom needing to be accomodated. The rest of you can sod off.

Tom Tyler said...

"...you can see a political advert at a cinema but not on your TV screen".

LOL! As trumpeter lanfried said (12:56) BBC News/Newsnight/Question Time etc etc are at times little else than a political advert for Labour and all things left.

ian said...

Well obviously it's an excellent idea. The most exposure and influence should always go to the richest. In fact, why not have the new elected lords determined solely by auction on ebay.

Anonymous said...

iain,

Oxfam have already opened the floodgates with their "i'm in" adverts on combating world proverty.

some just needs to come along with a lot of cash and challenge the law in the courts

Newmania said...

If you want to sell politics like cheeseburgers, go to America.
Well not like Cheeseburgers exactly, whiles seeking some improving literary fare on Sky, I once accidentally happened upon the Adult channel. Assuming the propriety in sexual matters , the Conservative Party are justly famous for, I am probably the only one …...
On this programme a number of scantily clad women lounged and canoodled in provocative attitudes holding up a number for you to phone. As I gather once someone has called they describe in detail what they would like to do and how it would feel while they were doing it . Naturally I hurried on to Art Forum on Channel 4 starring “an America woman,” but isn’t this a splendid model .

Michael Gove , for example could besport himself in the manner of a free marketer and if you called him he would mutter suggestively about tax cuts working into a frenzy of anti Islamic legislation. By this means four or five suited MP`s could advertise their wares at once allowing you to flick through their exciting thought processes.

Perhaps it would assist the general public is properly assessing what a politician is seeing such a spectacle. Tony Blair would have had many regulars I `m sure

Anonymous said...

Of course there is no reason not to have political ads on the TV. We are a grown up democracy - people can make their own minds up. We have them now in the form of PPB's where we the taxpayer fund the airtime. Perhaps to keep BNP, UKIP, SWP nutters off the airwaves would be to restrict the ability to buy air time to the % sare of the vote at the previose version of the election that the ads are being made for. Anyway I wouldnt even do that the normal rules will apply and for f**k sake no one has to watch them.

Chad said...

Let's not pretend that the Tories are suddenly supporting free market access to TV so people have a freedom to choose.

Al Gore will stop being an eco-crite before Cameron stands up for the rights of Tobacco companies and sweets manufacturers to sell their legal products via tv ads as and when they choose.

Tristan said...

Political parties should be able to advertise how they like.
With current spending caps and our libel laws I doubt it would make that much difference.

Make sure that advertisements are covered by current legislation - false claims not allowed etc...

Given non-party aligned political groups are getting away with advertising on TV I think its time is coming.

tory boys never grow up said...

Newmania

Despite what you think I do generally believe in freedom and market economies. But that is not the same as saying that freedoms and market economics should go unfettered. In your own rather limited parlance I would be a social democratic wanker – assuming that you have passed the stage of assuming that anyone who doesn’t like the Tories is automatically a Marxist.

There can be conflicts between market economics and freedoms – slavery is one, and I am presuming you think that selling votes would be another. However, it is possible without being a totally unreformed supporter of the Soviet Union to believe that there might be some other restrictions on market economics when it comes to such serious freedoms as free and fair elections e.g. expenditure caps, transparency of funding, invasion of privacy, taste and decency etc. etc. You can either have a serious discussion about where those boundaries are – or just a free for all.

There can also be conflicts between peoples freedom’s e.g. you freedom to interrupt my television/film viewing with Thatcherite drivel versus my freedom to operate a one party Marxist state in my home or just to watch to watch a film in peace – and the last film I saw at the cinema was about Beatrix Potter (a founder of that evil collectivist organisation, the National Trust) just to dispel your illusions.

I know if you believe in the divine Margaret everything is either right or evil Marxism – but I’m afraid the world is just a little more complicated than that.

Madasafish said...

Allow political parties to advertise.

Let them show us how far thinking they are (when they talk on issues), how narrow minded (when they go on and on about a issue key to them only), and how ignoble they are (when they produce knocking copy).

Party Political Broadcasts are like death warmed up - with no replies... I would love a series of knocking adverts of the "yes you did", "no we did not" .. or not as the case may be... just to show how the parties think.

To prevent politicians from showing us how good or bad they are .. is bad for democracy...

David Anthony said...

In all liklihood the big parties would only pay for advertisments on prime-time tv, limited ads with maximum exposure.

Smaller, single issue parties would bombard the world of low-cost, daytime, multi-channel tv - watched by the less politically informed and easily swayed.

I don't know if this would be a good thing. Can you imagine constant BNP and UKIP adverts being beamed throughout the day on Satellite tv?

forthurst said...

In the USA, elections are hugely expensive, with TV and other media campaigning a major cost factor. The result is that policies are prepurchased by interest groups, generally supporters of Israel for foreign policy and business for domestic policy. This process has undermined the Constitution and the democratic process. There are already worrying signs here with NuLab and the Tories supporting the illegal war in Iraq, the illegal war on the Lebanon, as well as the futile war in Afghanistan.
PS Remind me why Brand X is better than Brand Y; is the bubbles?

jailhouselawyer said...

I thought that party political broadcasts were adverts?

The Ludingtonian said...

Smaller, single issue parties would bombard the world of low-cost, daytime, multi-channel tv - watched by the less politically informed and easily swayed.

Since there is no indication in your post of it having been written with a heavy sense of irony, I'm going to have to assume that you sincerely believe what you have written.

Have you any sense of the bloody, bloody, fecking bloody offensiveness of this statement? Your patrician authoritarianism is staggering. In case you cannot see just what is so offensive in what you've written, let me rephrase it for you:

People who watch daytime TV are stupid, ignorant oiks who are incapable of rational thought. For their own good, therefore, they must be protected from the alluring fascinations of such niche parties as the BNP and UKIP, lest they be enticed into adopting political positions of which I do not approve.

What a pessimistic, damning view of your fellow man. How, I have to wonder, can you possibly endorse such a dangerous process as democracy?

verity said...

Tory Boys Never Grow up - "but so would be allowing the selling of votes to the highest bidder."

We already do. Welfare recipients vote for whoever will pad them out in ever greater comfort and ease. As does the public sector. That is two vast tranches whose votes are sold.

Anonymous said...

It would be a waste of money, who on earth is going to believe a partisan advert when they do not even believe, with good cause, what is said in parliament?

Until Parliment realises that they are basically a laughing stock in terms of credibility we will get daft ideas like this.


Iain

If a government minister does not need to provide a truthful answer to a question posed in the House of Commons what possible credibility will they have when they are bragging or slagging on TV??

Its utterly farcical

Observer said...

I thought we did have political adverts - I see tons of adverts on satellite with Gordon Brown either a) offering to consolidate loans or b) urging viewers to file an IVA


I thought that was the essence of politics - spend what you don't have and re-package the debt; or simply go bust

bt said...

Sure they should advertise their palsied principles on TV - but only if we have the right to use the red button to vote them out of the House - like right now.

Might even make me consider getting a TV again.

Adam said...

Newmania: I will put your 'but Brits are always better than Americans' argument to my boss.

As for your pearly white teeth and thumbs up, you'll never beat Billy Mays, oh no:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=14333812

David Anthony said...

The Ludingtonian: Relax. It's called pragmatism. If BNP propaganda is beamed through the airwaves everyday, it's going to affect people.

Why don't we allow Al Qaeda to start up a tv channel to broadcast their beliefs and muster support. Oh right, I forgot, political advertising never swayed anyone's opinions.

Kindly, get over yourself.

The Ludingtonian said...

David Anthony:

It's called pragmatism.
No, it is most certainly not. It is one person, or a group of persons, deciding what political statements are allowed and which are to be banned. Drop the pretense and the euphemism; it is censorship and nothing less.

If BNP propaganda is beamed through the airwaves everyday, it's going to affect people.

Yes, it will. The BNP will have thrown their hat into the ring of the public marketplace of ideas. So get off your arse, marshall your arguments, and produce your own adverts showing why the BNP are good old-fashioned National Socialists. Show the ignorant, anti-intellectual, deluded, daytime TV-watching masses why the political Left inevitably leads to repression and authoritarianism.

Why don't we allow Al Qaeda to start up a tv channel to broadcast their beliefs and muster support. Oh right, I forgot, political advertising never swayed anyone's opinions.

That's a good question. Why don't we? Are we so pathetically insecure about the value of beliefs?

Yes, political advertising can sway opinions. So do something about it. Have you got better ideas? Then show us. But perhaps that is too much like real thought. How much easier simply to ban opinions that we disagree with.

Anonymous said...

I'll buy that...as long as it's interactive TV.

I love Newmania's idea of having politicians - or Pollies, as Australians call them - simultaneously compete against each other for our favours, just like prostitutes in a televised brothel. Wonderfully apt.

The reason for the interactivity is to allow us out here to vote on each Pretty Polley's performance.

Those who don't come up to scratch to be booted out, just as the contestants are in Big Brother. No crowds or fanfare when they're ejected though, something simple like a small trap door in the floor. Come up with any unpopular policies or nose in the trough pay/pension schemes for Pollies and away you go!

Laurence Boyce said...

“I don’t actually think many political parties would want to pay the cost of them anyway, but in a free country, surely they should be entitled to pay for them if they choose to.”

Living in a free country doesn’t mean that we can’t arrive at sensible truces on matters such as this, which will save everyone a whole load of time and money. Political parties will pay for advertisements if they feel they can make a difference, which they probably will, but for all the wrong reasons. I think that, if anything, we should be going the other way – drastically cutting back on election campaigning and spending.

Essentially, if we haven’t been following the news for the last four years, then perhaps we shouldn’t vote at all.

David Anthony said...

It's called pragmatism.
No, it is most certainly not. It is one person, or a group of persons, deciding what political statements are allowed and which are to be banned. Drop the pretense and the euphemism; it is censorship and nothing less.


This happens already in every democracy in the world.

If BNP propaganda is beamed through the airwaves everyday, it's going to affect people.

Yes, it will. The BNP will have thrown their hat into the ring of the public marketplace of ideas. So get off your arse, marshall your arguments, and produce your own adverts showing why the BNP are good old-fashioned National Socialists. Show the ignorant, anti-intellectual, deluded, daytime TV-watching masses why the political Left inevitably leads to repression and authoritarianism.


So TV ceases to be an entertainment medium and market for product advertisment and instead a form of 'debatable' big brother. Sometimes I just want to turn on the tv and be entertained without being subjected to hate campaigns by the BNP.

Why don't we allow Al Qaeda to start up a tv channel to broadcast their beliefs and muster support. Oh right, I forgot, political advertising never swayed anyone's opinions.

That's a good question. Why don't we? Are we so pathetically insecure about the value of beliefs?


So that's pragmatism in your view?

Unfortunately some form of censorship is necessary to live in a free and stable nation. That's pragmatism, no utopian social philosophy has ever lasted. Democracy only works by limiting its ideals and powers.

Anonymous said...

Then when all of the Pollies, except Boris and Iain, have been despatched through the trap door, we'll all have one one mighty big street party and switch to direct self-government with and voting system

Oh, YES!

Auntie Flo'

Apologies, I became so excited at the prospect of a Big Brother style ejection contest for Politicians that I forget to sign my name to that post.

Anonymous said...

Woops, meant to say direct government with an internet voting system.

Auntie Flo'

Newmania said...

Tory thing blah etc ..yawn
‘Limited’ and ‘parlance’, are two words yoked together almost exclusively by the dull ,Tory etc.. I daresay you imagined you would add a little hauteur and colour to your motley plumage, poor thing ? The path ahead is clearly strewn with error for you . I `m a little busy but ……

1There can be conflicts between market economics and freedoms – Yes of course….
2. expenditure caps, transparency of funding,- Yes agreed
3-invasion of privacy, taste and decency etc. etc- Well this is considerably more dubious but the notion that politicians should not appear on our blood soaked sexually frenzied screens for reasons of decency and taste is novel I suppose. Whose taste , yours ? You with your admitted predilection for bestial adventures set in a Lakeland context and frequently involving the threat of cannibalism albeit in roly poly pudding . Nonsense in fact
4 There can also be conflicts between people’s freedoms – Naturally , your freedom to pontificate conflicts with the freedom of others to make informed electoral decisions.
5 know if you believe in the divine Margaret everything is either right or evil Marxism – Not at all , Margaret Thatcher presided over a country with a moderate mixed economy and was only extreme by the debased standards of the 1970s and the long march towards Socialism the country had been on since the war. The spitting image puppet the Liberal establishment have since invented may be the fictional character to whom you refer.

I `m not exactly sure what a Social democratic Wanker is ? I suppose its just another Liberal in which case we can ignore you in safety.

no longer anonymous said...

The Ldft will no doubt call it unfair because the Right have more cash to spend. All the more reason to allow it!

no longer anonymous said...

"Unfortunately some form of censorship is necessary to live in a free and stable nation. That's pragmatism, no utopian social philosophy has ever lasted."


A lack of censorship is utopian?!

It's not as if allowing the BNP or Al Quaeda to set up television stations will bring about the end of civilisation. If you don't like what's on tv, don't watch it. Leave those of us who do want to have our views challenged to make that choice.

no longer anonymous said...

"There can be conflicts between market economics and freedoms – slavery is one"

Er, what? Free markets are based on contractual relations, not forcing people to work against their will.

"There can also be conflicts between peoples freedom’s e.g. you freedom to interrupt my television/film viewing with Thatcherite drivel versus my freedom to operate a one party Marxist state in my home"

You're not talking about freedom, you're talking about the right to compel others to act or use their property in a certain way. If a tv station contracts to allow Thatcherite adverts then that is their perogative. It is also your perogative as a free person not to watch them or to write to the company and complain. If they don't listen to you, tough luck - you don't own them. But nor can they force you to watch their commercials either.

David Anthony said...

It's not as if allowing the BNP or Al Quaeda to set up television stations will bring about the end of civilisation


I don't know what news coverage you have been watching, but if Al Qaeda were to open a tv station in this country, it could very well bring about the end of civilization as we know it... that's their aim.

I can't believe this argument has developed into people advocating the establishment of Al Qaeda TV. I think this just proves my point. Where do you draw the line? Who decides what political messages can and can't be advertised on TV?

Leave those of us who do want to have our views challenged to make that choice.

Again, my very point. I choose to watch a television show for entertainment. If i choose to have my views challenged, I choose to watch a political television show.

The Ludingtonian said...

So TV ceases to be an entertainment medium and market for product advertisment and instead a form of 'debatable' big brother. Sometimes I just want to turn on the tv and be entertained without being subjected to hate campaigns by the BNP.

I think I know what you mean. Most evenings I want to get home, have something to eat, and flake out in front of a telly that is showing nothing more intellectually challenging than 'House' (which is returning to our screen on 22 March. Yay!) or CSI or, God help us, My Family. In short, there are times that I don't want to think and want only brain candy.

But, but, but - I have a mute switch on my remote. Adverts are already much louder than the programmes they interrupt, and when they come on I inevitably press the mute button. Why are political adverts any different from those from Ocean Finance? If you don't want to hear them hit the button. If you want to engage intellectually with them then don't.

Where is it written that telly is to be merely an "entertainment medium and market for product advertisment"? We take from it what we want. If what I want isn't on a particular channel I switch over. And political adverts are different how?

As for pragmatism - well, I have no great faith in it and cannot understand your retreat to it. Who decides what is pragmatic?

The acid test of any proposal is simple: what does it mean for me, here, in this place, on the ground? What am I being denied? What am I being forced to do or think? Apply that to your proposals and see where you end up.

Rush-is-Right said...

I'm in favour. There are too many regulations governing what cancan't be advertised as it is.

Offhand, I would scrap the lot.

David Anthony said...

That's right. Sometimes I want my TV to just entertain me, sometimes I want it to challenge me .. but the key point is, I want to choose when I do either.

I choose to go to the cinema in a neutral venue. Having outfits like the BNP invading my house through no choice of my own is another matter. It's not as simple as turning off my tv; its my house, I should allow their opinion in or not. I shouldn't have to protect myself from it.

The concept of the tv you cannot turn off trying to change my beliefs really scares me. I see thsi as a step towards it.

In a free country, surely I should be free to live my life free of propaganda.

The Ludingtonian said...

David Anthony:

I can't believe this argument has developed into people advocating the establishment of Al Qaeda TV. I think this just proves my point. Where do you draw the line?

What political line needs to be drawn? Are you really so pessimistic about the intellectual abilities of your fellow citizens? Is everyone an idiot apart from you?

Who decides what political messages can and can't be advertised on TV?

I decide. I am a citizen. I am a rational, thinking, independent, politically-interested individual. I decide what I will watch and what views I will give credence to. I decide which views I will research further. I decide what I will believe. I am the captain of my ship and the master of my destiny. I neither need nor want your oversight.

In words of one syllable, which makes things ever so much simpler: "Fuck off".

David Anthony said...

What political line needs to be drawn? Are you really so pessimistic about the intellectual abilities of your fellow citizens? Is everyone an idiot apart from you?

No, just you based on your arguments.

In words of one syllable, which makes things ever so much simpler: "Fuck off".

Rational debate is over then? But I was just warming up.

anon and on and on said...

Oh look, Iain, it isn't difficult.

Gambling raises taxes for Gordon Brown, so advertising is permitted (if not obligatory).

Political advertising raises no tax, and might criticise Gordon Brown, so it cannot be permitted.

Move along now, nothing to debate here.

The Ludingtonian said...

In words of one syllable, which makes things ever so much simpler: "Fuck off".

Rational debate is over then? But I was just warming up.

I apologise. That was too strong language on my part. Blame, if blame need be assigned, the 1.5 bottles of really rather decent white wine I have befor me.

No, that's a weasel's response. Blame me. I, as I said, apologise whole-heartedly for the tenor of the language I used.

Let the, ahem, sober debate continue.

NotYetDoc said...

My name's Ming Campbell and I approve this message.

Why in the world would you want to see this?

uk-events said...

I have no problem allowing political advertising.

I have a few caveats though -

1). Party Political Broadcasts (free advertising) should be banned.

2). They must never, ever, ever use taxpayers money on advertising.

Other than that, crack on. Providing someone doesn't dictate who can or who cannot advertise - for example, "we don't mind the main political parties paying for ads but the BNP must never get on the airways" - whats good for the goose is good for the gander!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

verity 3.19 PM. What you are saying is, if you extend the franchise to the net beneficiaries of taxation they will always vote for higher taxes.

This is similar to the argument advanced by those who voted against the Reform Bill in 1831. "If you extend the franchise to the poor they will always vote to expropriate the rich."

Both arguments are "unattractive" but have stood the test of time.

Lord Cashcroft said...

"surely they should be entitled to pay for them if they choose to"
Errr. You mean the taxpayers will foot the bill as you support them funding your party don't you????

mordonian said...

Yeah right, as if we weren't enough like the US already

no longer anonymous said...

"Having outfits like the BNP invading my house through no choice of my own is another matter."

But why should you be able to deny the tv company the choice to allow such adverts when you don't own the company? If you don't want them invading your house, don't watch tv. It's not vital like oxygen is. A free society isn't based on the idea that "all things that inconvenience me should be banned". It's based on contract and consent.

"It's not as simple as turning off my tv; its my house, I should allow their opinion in or not."

And it's their tv station - they should be able to put what they like on there. You might as well say "I should be allowed to decide whether soaps are broadcast into my living room or not". I find them ghastly but I don't expect the government to ban them. I bought the tv and in doing so I accepted that certain programmes I don't like will potentially appear on it. I don't own the tv stations.

"I shouldn't have to protect myself from it."

Why not? Does the government have to do everything for you? You bought the tv in the first place - you take responsibility for the consequences.

"The concept of the tv you cannot turn off trying to change my beliefs really scares me. I see thsi as a step towards it."

You can turn it off though. There's usually a button on the remote. Or buttons that change channel. Anyhow, if you're so confident that your beliefs are right, why be afraid to have them challenged?

"In a free country, surely I should be free to live my life free of propaganda."

There are many inconvenient things about life I don't like but I don't expect the government to get rid of them because it would infringe on the personal rights and private property rights of others. I might as well say "I would be able to live my life free of hearing foul language". Would be nice but I wouldn't expect the government to start fining people who swear within my earshot. Furthermore, you can live your life free of such propaganda - by not watching tv! By purchasing the tv you accepted the fact that television companies can broadcast what they like into your home providing you turn on the correct channel. If you don't like that fact then you shouldn't buy the tv. The tv company is not compelling you to watch its adverts, it is not infringing on your person or property but by banning political adverts you would be infringing on theirs.

Rush-is-Right said...

Newmania said...... The US and the UK are not the same place its dangerous and misleading to compare the two. Simply put we are much better at almost everything and undoubtedly the long list would grow by one viz political adverts .

At a risk of going off on a tangent here, I find this post just plain embarrassing. By 'our' I assume you mean the British? It just sounds so complacent. The next thing, you'll be saying "The NHS is the envy of the world", "Our policemen are marvellous", or maybe even "You can always trust the BBC". I can't think of anything we do better than the USA these days.

no longer anonymous said...

"This is similar to the argument advanced by those who voted against the Reform Bill in 1831. "If you extend the franchise to the poor they will always vote to expropriate the rich.""

Very true. Democracy = welfare state = what the Victorians would consider socialism.

More democracy = less liberty.

http://www.lulu.com/content/716296
http://www.mises.org/books/liberty.pdf

Adam said...

rush-is-right: You have clearly never spend any time in the New Jersey DMV. Allow me to shamelessly link one of my own blog posts (should be there if you click on my name).

Rush-is-Right said...

Adam, thank you. I am dumbstruck, despite not knowing what DMV stands for.

But you have obviously never had to queue for a blood test in an NHS hospital!

verity said...

No queuing for blood tests in the private sector.

And all those individuals paying their PAYE or whatever it's called these days, could have first class medical experiences if they could apply their own donations to their insurer of choice.

So why tolerate it? How did the NHS get holy status when it's so awful - except as a token of lefty faith? Like "climate change"?

Marxism has always failed. The NHS was never "the envy of the world". The world never copied it.

The world galloped ahead.

Let people (I hate to say "let people", as though the government were the boss of the citizenry) make their own choice. Be an NHS contributor and get their service. Or opt out,meaning no payments into the NHS system.

In which case, with what you would have uselessly paid in, you could fly to India and have a private room, air-conditioning, and superb English-speaking Indian doctors and nurses. And food that gives you the will to live.

Not the Sovietesque NHS of a creaking 70 years ago.

Give people a choice about where they pay their NHS contributions, and all the people on welfare will watch TV with their mouths hanging open in NHS doctor's surgeries,and all the people with smarts will be on planes, for the same amount of money, to India. And Singapore.

It's the way of the future, and if you don't believe it, you will be sitting among bouncey castles in GPs surgeries for the rest of your lives.