Island Life by David Slack


Helen who?

The Labour party is once again putting its hand in your pocket to pay for an ad that lets you know they’re putting more cash in your pocket.

But what if those leaflets were never meant to fetch up in your letterbox? What if the glossy picture of a family lolling in a warm sun on a green lawn and smiling the white-toothed smiles of the prosperous was not meant for your eyes?

What the Herald omitted to report in this morning’s front page story Pledge Card Rises From Dead is that this ad is in fact pitched at the all-important Ohio voter.

Skinny is a designer. He knows his designer stuff. When the glossy brochure hit his letterbox last weekend, he wasn’t fooled.

Perhaps it takes an ex-photographer to spot a stock photo, and an American one at that…I went straight to and on the 3rd page of a search for ‘happy family’ there was exactly the same image.

Skinny sees a cock-up, but I just can’t imagine they would be so slow to learn their lesson. Not after the flak they copped for their Working for Families ad with iPod-bedecked kids in a designer kitchen. Not after the mockery they had to endure for the riddle-wrapped-in-an-enigma that was the dangling baby ad. Not with David Farrar waking each night from a tormented sleep to blog fresh insights on the horror that is the Electoral Finance Act.

Clearly they have concluded that there are no happy families left to be found in these gloomy isles. Like so many New Zealanders before them, the Labour Party has concluded that their only route to recovery will be export-led. Ohio is the beach-head. The haka for Laura Bush was no coincidence. And Scott Dixon? Labour voter since that afternoon many years ago when he raced against Helen Clark at the go-karts.

Expect the momentum to build from now on. It will be formidable. By the time Barack Obama faces the cameras to make his historic running mate announcement, no-one will be saying: Helen Who?

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