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Lyndon Hood: This ->

This ->

By Lyndon Hood

It's been brought to my attention that Labour's new campaign slogan is "Let's do this".

A collective call to action. A mission. I myself was halfway out of the couch before I realised I wasn't sure what it was I was supposed to do.

For all they could just mean 'campaign in the general election' – they were doing that anyway but it's reassuring to think they're doing it deliberately – I can't help thinking there's more to this. For all I know, my vote may hinge on the question. I wouldn't want it to be something bad.

We can eliminate some options. For example, the surrealists taught us that this is not a pipe. Speaking of history, events have made clear Labour does not want this to be 'commit politically relevant petty crimes twenty years ago'. So, as far as the Greens' inconvenient sudden connection with the disenfranchised poor goes, this is not a love song.

We are talking about an increasingly common encouraging phrase. One use has achieved the kind of niche famousness you get on the Internet. Which I note in the hope that this also does not mean 'charging into the dragonspawn-infested Rookery in the Upper Blackrock Spire without any reference to your raiding party's elaborate plan, killing everyone'. I realise we all thought the election was going to be boring, but there is a limit.

Which still leaves us wondering about a positive meaning (relentless or otherwise).

Political slogans mostly mean what you want them to. For example National's slogan is 'Delivering For New Zealand'. What they're delivering is obviously supposed to be something nice (unless you're a malicious person in which case you can imagine something nasty). Probably not (despite their best efforts) pizza. Maybe – just possibly – the actual benefits they've been promising all this time while they've been reforming everything.

Or in Labour's case: To some people this might be 'wrestling the state back from uncaring bean counters'; to others this might be 'do something about immigrants, but phrase it politely'; to a select few this might be 'get together to brainstorm an emergency slogan change and just write down the first thing someone says'.

Probably all of this is true. But in my mind it means something more: to attain this-ness. To give the Labour Party the kind of thing-ish quality where you feel like it actually exists and you could, on a good day, point to it.

If you've followed New Zealand politics recently, you'll understand this is no small task.

Meanwhile the National Party is on social media explaining why their leader being an inanimate object is actually a good thing. It's possibly that political reality is spread so thin these days Labour and National can't both be real at the same time.

After thinking about these issues for a good long time I finally realized the truth.

This is why I'm not in charge of writing political slogans.


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