For mad adverts, the Tory eyes have it
Wednesday 04 September 1996
They have said they won't.
Does that mean they will or they won't ?
It could mean either.
So they might be telling the truth?
Oh, yes. By the law of averages, even the Government tells the truth from time to time.
Well, if the Tories are not going to call a general election this year, why on earth did they choose this summer to indulge in their advertising campaign showing Tony Blair with mad, staring eyes ?
Oh, that was nothing to do with their election strategy. That was all part of their holiday campaign.
What does that mean ?
When the Government goes on holiday, it likes to leave some trouble behind it as a kind of smokescreen so that they won't be required to come racing back from their Tuscan, Umbrian or Provencal vacation.
So that's why they did that ridiculous ad campaign showing Tony Blair with wild staring eyes, portraying him as Satan, etc?
Yes. They thought they would stir up enough trouble over that to distract attention from anything else that might need their real attention.
Like prisoners being released from prison too early?
Yes. That was the unfortunate kind of accident that no government likes to have happen during the summer hols.
Which necessitated Michael Howard coming back early from his holidays?
No. He was back already. Michael Howard never takes holidays. He spends all his time in the office working on new ways to overwork the police and prison services. But at least Mr Howard was able to call the heads of the prison services back from their holidays.
Which made a change from the silly season...
Hold on, hold on. Are you suggesting that this is the silly season?
Yes. Isn't that so? Isn't summer the time when all the politicians are on holiday, so the papers have nothing to report but silly news?
No, no, no - the exact opposite is true. It is when the politicians are around that we get true silliness.
The soap opera season of British politics lasts for 10 months, and it is then that we get all the silly stories - Harriet Harman's child, Tony Blair's schools, Clare Short, Eurorebels, John Redwood's leadership bid, Michael Portillo's anything, and so on and so on. In the brief two months of summer we get a rest from all that and the British press gets sensible just for a moment. I have never known why it was called the silly season.
It wasn't very sensible this year, what with Tony Blair's staring eyes and all that.
Well, I must say that if the Tories choose to fight the next election on who has the maddest eyes, they are leaving themselves wide open.
One thing I would like to know. Why, if the Tories wanted to show that Tony Blair has wild, mad, staring eyes, did they not use the eyes of Tony Blair himself, instead of the eyes of an actor?
It was a joke that went wrong. The original idea was to use the eyes of Michael Heseltine in the advertisement, on the grounds that the Tories had the wildest eyes of all right on their own doorstep.
Why didn't this happen ?
Mr Heseltine wanted to charge too much money for the use of his eyes.
Why didn't they use the mad, cold, staring eyes of John Redwood?
Unfortunately, Mr Redwood was away on holiday at the time in another galaxy many millions of miles from ours.
Why didn't they use the mad staring spectacles of Michael Howard?
Tony Blair doesn't wear spectacles. Why didn't they take off Michael Howard's spectacles and use his mad staring eyes for the Tony Blair poster?
Michael Howard never takes off his spectacles.
Because that would reveal that he had no eyes.
If Michael Howard doesn't have eyes, what does he have instead?
Behind those mad, staring spectacles, Michael Howard has only got tiny round close circuit security cameras, and a complicated autocue system which enables him to make long rabble-raising speeches without looking at a script or indeed without thinking.
Is that true ?
No. But it is an idea that the Labour Party has been toying with seriously for its next ad campaign.
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