Mother-of-all propaganda blunders

22nd April 2005 at 01:00
Jill Parkin is left aghast by Labour's election pamphlet for school-gate mums

So that's what they think of us - slightly dim and very gullible readers of Chat magazine. The headlines - "Are you getting yours?", "Got a neighbour from hell?" and "My repossession hell" - are almost a parody. There's even a problem page, where the Vote Doctor hands out advice to fake letter-writers on who to vote for. How thick do they think we are?

They actually have the nerve to put "your free issue" on the front. This is breathtakingly condescending. As if anyone would pay for a piece of propaganda shoved into their hands at the school gate. You really cannot poke fun at this publication - it's beyond satire.

Inside Tony Blair talks down to us with a "brave new world" editorial which might have been all right in 1997, but looks rather faded now.

Then there's a bit about the NHS and how rundown it was left by the Tories.

Probably true, but I see there is no mention of superbugs or anything reflecting my experience, six years after the Tories had been out of power, when I took my child into casualty with a badly torn mouth at 6pm and she wasn't stitched until 3pm the following day.

The Ross Kemp interview blurbed on the cover turns out to be a few words from the EastEnders actor about how he's a tad disappointed with Labour but he's supporting them anyway.

Perhaps his wife, the editor of the Sun, helped the party out with its headlines. Running across the top of the centre spread above "My repossession hell" is a strap saying "a story of tragedy and triumph".

I can't help wondering if some wits in the Labour party PR department cobbled this together as a lunchtime joke, and it got distributed to thousands of mothers by mistake.

Jill Parkin is a TES journalist and school-gate mum

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