Politicians are clearly in pre-election mode but so far there is a notable absence of any party-political slogans for 2019. No doubt they will emerge shortly – so stand by.
‘Slogan’ is a strange word. It comes from the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghair which was a highland battle-cry designed to stir the hearts of warriors and urge them into battle. My God-father, Uncle Ken, served with the famous Highland Black Watch and fought in the battle of El-Alamein in 1942. He was very proud of the regiment’s history and we had some ‘interesting’ conversations when I expressed my views about the reason for its formation; it was cobbled together in 1725 out of Royalist Clans for the specific purpose of subduing and repressing rebellious Highlanders who had been involved in the Jacobite Rebellion. Uncle Ken maintained that the name Black Watch was ‘slogan’ enough to promote fear in the hearts of others. Some slogans work like that; ‘silent’ dog whistles or symbols and are used very effectively to mobilise communities for bad and for good.
Over the years there have been some memorable party-political sluagh-ghairs designed to ‘mobilise’ the loyal followers.
Who can forget Gough’s ‘It’s Time’? Do you remember the Australian Democrat’s ‘Keep the bastards honest’? (I think we should bring that one back!). Or, Andrew Peacock’s: ‘The Answer is Liberal’, to which Hawke replied “It must have been a %#!* stupid question”. Then there was Rudd’s 2007 catchphrase ‘Kevin 07’. And then of course we had ‘Stop the boats’ and ‘Axe the Tax’. Clearly, some slogans are more effective than others, and speak to different parts of the voting community. What will 2019 offer us?
It will be interesting to see which slogans the campaign managers come up with. Personally, I’d like some short punchy ones. Something like ‘Cut the Crap’, or ‘Truth not lies’.
As Jesus rallies his followers and steadily makes his way to Jerusalem for Passover, a campaign manager for Jesus’s recruiting strategy in Judea would probably come up with something like “Preaching truth to power”. I reckon that would fit rather nicely on the side of a camel or a donkey, it might even just fit on the top of a cross.
Not sure it would attract many followers though – much too risky.