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October 12, 2006

Let's Ban Big Ads

I’ve just been watching Tom Watson’s pretty good video-blog based on David Cameron’s recent effort. He makes some nice points but he’s inadvertantly(!) given me an idea.

He says if David Cameron wanted to clean up politics, he’d propose the end of billboard advertising of political parties during elections. It’s a good idea and would save our financially insecure political parties some dosh, as well as taking out some of the nastiness of elections such as this:

"New Labour - New Danger"

But I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we ban all billboard advertising? They’re ugly, expensive, very ‘old media’ and benefit only the people who are paid to produce them and stick them up. They’re an eyesore, often hide some much more attractive buildings behind them and rarely advertise anything useful.

Yes, we live in a society where we have ‘free speech’, but we don’t seem to have ‘equal free speech’. Realistically only rich companies can afford to buy up billboards across the country and why should they get any bigger say than anyone else? We also live in a liberal society where in many respects “anything goes” so long as it’s not offensive.

But aren’t some of these offensive when they represent the view out of many people’s own windows? I remember back in Leamington the traffic lights next to the railway station were surrounded by a barrage of the things that just looked scruffy.

Well if Tom Watson wants to do some clearing-up, why doesn’t he go the whole way rather than just trying to clean up politics? I expect to see him on the streets armed with a JCB very soon.

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