As the UK gears up for the EU elections, parties are releasing their campaign literature. New pro-remain centrist party Change UK is no exception.
But if the reaction to its leaflet is anything to go by, it might consider changing the design team. And one thing it shows hasn’t ‘changed’ is that it’s still all about them.
As usual, it’s all about them
Change UK is the rebranded party of the Independent Group. It’s made up of Labour and Conservative defectors including Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Anna Soubry, and Heidi Allen, among others.
But its new material aimed at addressing Brexit and Britain’s “broken” politics hasn’t had a positive welcome on social media.
One Twitter user felt the selfie imagery seemed “self absorbed”:
The CUKTIG leaflet I got today… When dull meets apparently self absorbed. Really not sure taking a selfie sets the right tone folks. Get professional help won't you? You're good for it. pic.twitter.com/lpNugWPLLp
— Gift (@JGiftmacher) May 13, 2019
But Change UK’s “self absorbed” focus is unsurprising. After all, its MPs have refused to hold by-elections. And this is partly because some of them believe they were voted in as individuals, not party representatives.
Journalist Joana Ramiro was also unimpressed by Change UK’s output. In two videos, she unfavourably compares the election leaflet to Labour’s. She argues that Change UK’s is an example of “astroturfed propaganda”. This means a corporate-run campaign that pretends to be a grassroots-led political movement.
Inspired by @AOC in #KnowDownTheHouse I’m gonna show you how you can tell the difference between a grassroots lead campaigning leaflet and astroturfed propaganda by comparing the @UKLabour vs the Change UK leaflet I just got thru the post pic.twitter.com/zuxbbTvg6A
— Joana Ramiro (@JoanaRamiroUK) May 13, 2019
— Joana Ramiro (@JoanaRamiroUK) May 13, 2019
And of course, they have a bus…
But Change UK has branched out beyond leaflets.
Clearly believing that buses really do make all the difference in British public votes on the EU, Change UK has invested in its own:
A bus! It’s a real election now pic.twitter.com/xIfF284zzL
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) May 13, 2019
But some people aren’t impressed by this either, with several commentators noting its amateurish appearance:
Is this in… Arial? And with an apostrophe that looks like it was pasted from Notepad? And is that crossed box a symbol from Wingdings? Was the CUK bus, in fact, designed in Microsoft Paint? https://t.co/pi6H4iNucM
— Lee Jones (@DrLeeJones) May 13, 2019
Journalist David Whitley showed no mercy:
Photography courtesy of @jessicaelgot. Bus design courtesy of someone who tries laying out posters for a village fete in Microsoft Word, then gets grumpy when the printers say they can't use it.
— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) May 13, 2019
Academic and author Tom Mills brought the Vengaboys back to life:
The Change UK bus is comin' and everybody's jumpin' pic.twitter.com/J6s15mp3fF
— Tom Mills (@ta_mills) May 13, 2019
And the Twitter account Labour Grassroots speculated on a deeper conspiracy most haven’t considered:
Now absolutely convinced that @ForChange_Now are an inside job, by supporters of @jeremycorbyn to destroy any remaining centrist credibility. I mean, look at the state of this bus. Well done agents @MikeGapes, @ChukaUmunna & @angelasmithmp. Top work! ✊ 🤫 pic.twitter.com/IIcj1Kx1iq
— Labour Grassroots (@LabGrassroots) May 13, 2019
Buses and leaflets are the least of Change UK’s worries, according to polling
If recent polling is anything to go by, then British voters aren’t impressed by Change UK either.
As academic Matthew Goodwin highlighted:
New YouGov #EP2019 – UK
Brexit Party 18 pts clear of main parties
Greens ahead of Tories
Conservatives in 5th
Change UK nowhere to be seen
Brexit Party 34% (+4)
Labour 16% (-5)
Liberal Democrat 15% (+5)
Green 11% (+2)
Conservative 10% (-3)
Change UK 5% (-4)
YouGov May 8-9
— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) May 13, 2019
And according to YouGov polling cited in the Times, few think Change UK is a party “here to stay”:
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) May 12, 2019
So after much hype, it looks like HMS Change UK is sinking fast. And probably with its name in a dodgy Microsoft font emblazoned across the stern.
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