One for Mum, Dad
Political slogans convey the essence of an era as readily as a favourite song or a fashion statement. Buzzwords like ‘‘Think big’’ or ‘‘ Wage and price freeze’’ instantly evoke the bygone era of Sir Robert Muldoon, and his fantasies of command and control.
Similarly, the slogans of 1980s economic reform such as ‘‘There is no alternative’’ and ‘‘Level playing field’’ sought to convey that a bold new era of optimism, fairness and opportunity had dawned for the voting public – although, alas, only the fortunately placed few were ultimately able to reap the bulk of the economic rewards on offer.
Ever since, it has been quite striking how New Zealand’s political sloganeering has tried to reassure the public, rather than inspire it.
Jim Bolger’s so-called ‘‘Decent society’’, Helen Clark’s trademark ‘‘ Working for families’’ package and the current Government’s invocation of ‘‘Mum and dad investors’’ have been variations on the same theme.
No threats, no visions, but instead, a promise of stability, support and continuity.
Repeatedly, the political message to a gun-shy public has been that this time, this