WTF! Yes, me too, I thought it meant that, but it stands for something far more significant. WTF is the acronym for Labour’s freshly minted vote-attracting slogan ‘Winning The Future’.
You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh. Every time Sir Keir Starmer tries to impress us, it serves as a reminder of how hopeless he and his causes have become. Like a man trapped in quicksand, his every effort to break free merely ensures he sinks further into the mire, and there is nobody to throw him a rope.
What is astonishing though is that ‘Winning The Future’ ever made it off the storyboard at presentation. It prompts the question: if this was the winning slogan, just how unbelievably banal were the rejected ones?
Did Sir Keir, and maybe Angela, attend a focus group somewhere north of London and observe through the one-way mirror as a cross-section of voters were led gently by the moderator to utter views on several potential catchphrases?
One can only imagine the scene as the moderator pulled the real zinger out of his bag.
‘Winning The Future – what do you all think?’
Wine glasses must have been put down, mouths opened in disbelief, and most participants wondering if they had been duped into taking part in a remake of Candid Camera.
Trite and meaningless as WTF undoubtedly is, the fact that it has been ‘signed off’ and presumably a hefty creative bill paid, is testament to the sheer lack of common sense within the upper echelons of the Labour Party. Did they seriously think that down at Trimdon Labour Club, pints would be chinked by happy voters marvelling at how WTF would transform Labour’s fortunes on the doorsteps of the Red Wall?
Fatuous soundbites, however, have long been the refuge of second-rate politicians. Scared of confronting the electorate and engaging with them in an adult way, trite phrases are tossed around like confetti.
Here’s a short selection:
Strong and stable; A Stronger Britain – a prosperous future; A Britain living within its means; Security stability opportunity; For the many not the few; A better future for you and your family; A new leadership; A future fair for all, Stronger together; Work, Care, Equality Together; Your choice, shape the future; Stronger economy, fairer society; Change that works for you; Everyone will be a millionaire.
Ok, I made the last one up.
Oops, almost forgot the ubiquitous Build Back Better – at least that has alliteration going for it, if nothing else.
If vacuous platitudes carried any weight, the country would, by now, be a veritable northern hemisphere Shangri-la.
In the real world, with our unsustainable debt, countless Parliaments, good intentions and a never-ending shuffling parade of well-salaried ministers, where is Great Britain plc?
Given the above, one would reasonably assume the UK was a land with well-educated children being regularly turned out – admirably armed to face the modern world, a land where poverty was eradicated, where the nation’s health was supremely well catered for.
Sadly, a cursory glance reveals that far from living in Paradise, we are a fractured dystopian society. Food banks overwhelmed by demand, welfare costs exploding and a shocking and shaming waiting list for healthcare – a problem, history teaches us, which will not be solved by engulfing the sainted NHS in yet another blizzard of cash. Children garnering record grades yet employers complaining about a lack of basic literacy and numeracy.
Despite drowning in futile slogans, has anything really bettered the lot of the population as a whole?
By and large most people would be content with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs being met – perhaps with weekly bin collection and good street lighting tagged on to reach Nirvana.
We are a country riven with discord and anger, yet we have a prime minister preferring to showboat to the gallery rather than do what he is paid for.
What will it take to rouse people from their torpor and question why nothing has radically changed for the better? Or are we content to accept a gradual erosion of fundamental rights and responsibilities that are associated with a western civilised democracy?
Slogans – that’s easy; real change – that’s hard.