The parties write

The parties write
Photo by Peter Pryharski / Unsplash

In mid-April, perhaps in the grip of seasonal affective disorder or some other blight, I decided to add my email address to the sending lists of all federal political parties. Well, except the Bloc because they don’t have a sign-up form on their website. I follow their news using a RSS reader, like in the old days, strike one for Gen-X skills woohoo. Mind you, it’s OK because by and large the Bloc’s communications offer rather a lot more value than the other guys’. I’ll have more to say on that as time goes by, fear not.

The idea was to get a sense of who the various parties are trying to attract by judging them on their writing style. It’s a thoroughly arbitrary and non-scientific way of analyzing who we’re dealing with, and feel free to add any amount of salt you decide is warranted to this analysis. Me, I find it helpful to know what the parties think their supporters want to hear from them. And not necessarily in a good way.

Big broad lines: The Conservatives are after simplistic low-information angry voters. They are short and clippy. People who enjoy waking up at night to curse Pierre Poilievre would say their comms are skippy. They wouldn’t be very wrong.

The Liberals are trying to attract people who delude themselves into thinking everything in this country is tickety-boo, and that calling attention to the Trumpian undertones of the other guys will be enough to stay in power. They are smug and explainy to incredibly annoying levels.

The NDP is after unicorns and idealists, as usual, people who’d rather be right than win. Their communications are lectury, in a way that’s not particularly effective.

The Bloc doesn’t care whether you like it or not. Which is charming in its own way. Refreshing, too.

The Greens almost never bother to write so it’s hard to see who they’re trying to attract. Perhaps nobody. In which case I’ve just found something at which they’re successful.

What’s in a name?

As a rule the Conservatives call me Brigitte. Sometimes in a sentence that includes something like  “common-sense Canadians like you, Brigitte.” That’s in line with the party’s vibe under the current leadership. Say what you want about Pierre Poilievre (and I have, and will keep on doing that), his style is direct to a fault. It’s actually one big reason why he’s so popular. He’s not talking with what where I’m from we call la langue de bois. This can – and often is – taken to mind-bending extremes and often veers into misinformation, intellectual dishonesty and rage-farming. But at least Poilievre’s party isn’t calling me “friend” like the NDP and Liberals both do with infuriating frequency.

I’m not your friend, OK? I have all the friends I can stand. Please use my name. On the very rare occasions the Greens email me anything, they, too, call me friend.

The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all want both my money (often) and my opinions. I am bombarded with requests for feedback but mostly money. It’s tedious and tiresome how much money they always seem to need. Which reminds me of this memorable number by George Carlin (the bit between 0:30 and 1:40 is especially à propos):

In the next little while I will amuse myself highlighting some of the most egregious examples of political correspondence but here are a few doozies I got in the few weeks since I signed up.