Political Trick Or Treat
A Halloween special column for the Warwick Boar. Apparently this was good because it’s a little bit political as well as being topical (or was on 31st October anyway). However I personally think everything I write is a little bit political, and indeed everything I say, which is why I am such boring company.
Look, I know most people reading this are students and therefore will not hesitate to dress up in stupid/crazy/revealing outfits at a moment’s notice, but has it ever occurred to any of you that Halloween is a little bit suspicious? Or are you too busy trying to work out how to turn a sheet into a ghost costume without going through the hideous social faux pas of looking like a member of the Ku Klux Klan?
Halloween is one of those old pagan festivals which got appropriated by the Christians in an attempt to win over the Northern Europeans. In the Christian sense it’s not even the main event anyway, that’s reserved for the 1st November, All Saint’s Day when people praise God for giving us such hits as ‘Never Ever’, ‘Pure Shores’ and that Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ cover which no one will admit to liking even though it’s as good as the original. Halloween’s recent rise in popularity is largely seen as Britain following America where it’s a much bigger event, probably because they don’t have Bonfire Night and thus need another excuse to harass innocent neighbourhoods in early autumn (Thanksgiving just doesn’t cut it).
What doesn’t seem to get commented on much is that Halloween is also seen as one big opportunity by the government. Take, for instance, the increasing propaganda from every angle to reduce the amount of excessive central heating which goes on in houses. In this modern era when some houses are requiring an area of rainforest the size of Wales daily to heat their house to its preferred ambient temperature of ‘Dubai in mid-August’, Halloween provides a chance to find out who these wasters are. Crack government teams dressed as vaguely racist looking ghosts roam the streets egging houses at random. If the egg reaches its target and instantly starts frying then the crack ghost team reports back to the council who can then authorise hundreds of door-to-door double glazing salesmen to descend on the heat freaks until they get the message and insulate their houses properly. Or they’ll tax them more. Whichever works.
There’s also the recent appearance of somewhat grotesque masks which bear a resemblance to Tony Blair, almost certainly the work of disaffected Gordon Brown supporters. You can see the extent of their disillusionment with the Blairite dream from the sheer hideousness of the masks. In years to come a Blair mask will be the must have scary item, overtaking even the current most scary masks, the Scream mask, the gratuitously realistic zombie mask, and mask of Simon Cowell (trousers not included). The ruling party has long used the relative hideousness of the prime ministerial Halloween mask as a measure of unpopularity more reliable than newspaper polls, and this year it’s been reported that the Blair visage is up there with Thatcher 1989, the year in which the Iron Lady’s mask came with a free model of the eviscerated corpse of a working class person. Clearly next year will see a new Prime Minister’s mask.
The tactics of Halloween have long been apparent in political canvassing. Large numbers of children dressed up are hard to turn away without a thought (unless you’re a student) so the aspiring MP now canvases with a small army of youthful looking minions in their wake, with an older ‘parent’ figure at the back. The victim becomes confused and usually assumes it’s just some mildly satirical children, only realising what’s really going on when they start asking about local services, not begging for sweeties. Take my advice, treat these canvassers like children at Halloween, just leave a bowl of parma violets outside the door and turn all the lights in the house off until they pass. Just don’t blame me when James Plaskitt MP starts throwing eggs.