How to draw up a manifesto to please everyone without sticking your neck out? A problem for the candidates at election time. Flicking through the election manifestos, we found more than a couple of things in common. Promises are cheap and it’s easy to criticise when the person on the receiving end can’t really disagree. We’re not saying that the election manifestos are pie in the sky but the challengers don’t have much to lose. Here’s the top 10 programme promises to finish our report Election bumph.
No. 1 in the election manifestos: moan about the lack of dynamism in the town, and hold the mayor responsible. Point out that the town centre is like a graveyard after 20h, while pretending to forget that it’s a general problem in all medium-sized towns. And throw your hands up in woe at the number of town centre shops that have had to close down due to shopping centres on the outskirts, albeit it’s the same everywhere.
No. 2 in the election manifestos: remark that there aren’t enough jobs as a result of all that and add that the powers in place chose the wrong policies to attract business and investment. You are going to put things right of course (without saying how but that isn’t going to stop you speaking your mind).
No. 3 in the election manifestos: have a go at parking meters and, if you want to go the whole hog when you haven’t got a bat in hell’s chance of being elected, (otherwise it would be suicidal), promise to do away with parking meters as soon as you park [sic] your bum in the mayor’s seat. In the same way, grumble about how hard it is to get around town in a car, even if the biggest traffic jam in your town with a population of 10,000 is never longer than 50 m due to parents dropping off and picking up little ‘uns.
No. 4 in the election manifestos: point out how useless we are at encouraging participatory democracy. Conveniently forget that participatory democracy is a super complex concept to put into place when we all know that it’s always the same few people that participate… And then stick it into your manifesto as no one gives a damn anyway…
No. 5 in the election manifestos: attack (the mayor in place) is the best form of defence. The angle of attack is up to you: their all too personal exercise of power, their arrogance, their refusal to listen, their authoritarianism, their detachment from reality, their running out of political steam if they have already been in office twice, their need to be put out to pasture if they’re over 70 years of age.
No. 6 in the election manifestos: depoliticise your list by insisting that it’s not aligned to any political party, that it’s a melting pot of people from all walks of life and ABOVE ALL from civil society.
No. 7 in the election manifestos: write that you’re going to prepare today’s young for tomorrow’s challenges with training, education, participatory democracy-in short, full of the right words. Don’t forget the oldies though, the third generation, because your programme, your town is “multi-generation” and leaves out nobody.
No. 8 in the election manifestos: knock high taxes and if they haven’t rocketed these past six years, then groan about the debt that has or the lack of investment. And if neither the debt nor taxes have hit the roof, then point the finger at town hall expenses which are far too high.
No. 9 in the election manifestos: open culture to and for all. Because culture is the cement of society. No need to say anymore on that point.
No. 10 in the election manifestos: promise an industrial park geared towards new or sustainable technologies. If you really want to impress your voters, you could use the jargon term “Smart City” ‘cos nobody understands it but everyone will be impressed.
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