Pink Bus: Just what Jim Murphy needs!

Pink Bus: Just what Jim Murphy needs!

by Bill Jamieson
article from Thursday 12, February, 2015

WANTED: Anything, just anything, to lift Scottish Labour’s election campaign out of the poo. 

Having upset the Catholics and been hit by the self-created ‘Girder-gate’ scandal – Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy’s expenses claims for cans of Irn Bru totalling £1.30 – nothing, but nothing seems to be going right for him. 

But just when all seems lost, along comes a brilliant election winner from down south: Labour’s new pink battle bus. 

The eye-catcher is the latest wheeze to galvanise female Labour votes in the upcoming May election. 

Harriet Harman and shadow minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero (pictured above), will it's said, together with Lucy Powell, be in attendance in the back of the van – which will then be driven as far away from Labour HQ as possible. What a brilliant new wheeze for Jim Murphy’s campaign. Surely nothing is more likely to mobilise female Labour support in Drumchapel and Govan?

A Scottish version could be bedecked in pink tartan, and with those vote magnets Margaret Cullen and Johann Lamont singing along in the back, poised to jump out and sing in unison at every meet-the-voter opportunity.

Irn Bru might be the least of the fluids Jim Murphy would then have to claim for. 

Meanwhile, down south, even before it’s been driven out of the garage, all Hell has broken loose in the pink van. 

Happy Clappy girls all sunshine and smiles? Think again. 

Guardian readers have erupted in outrage over its patronising, blatant sexism. Others have mocked the entire concept. And the wheels are already spinning.

First, we’re told it’s not a bus. It’s a van. A little pink van.

Labour’s deputy leader says the minibus had to be eye-catching to reach nine million women who did not vote in the last election. She said the bus/van which will tour constituencies to talk to female voters, had to stand out. The tour of 70 constituencies “will engage with women outside the school gates, in shopping centres and in workplaces”. 

Lucy Powell, a Labour election campaign co-ordinator, said Labour was taking its message to female voters because they wanted to “have a conversation about the kitchen table and around the kitchen table” rather than having an “economy that just reaches the boardroom table”.

Get that? “About the kitchen table and around the kitchen table” – just where Guardian readers expect women voters are to be found. Not – note this – on top of the kitchen table, or under the kitchen table.  

Since the bus/van was unveiled Harriet Harman has had to fight a rear-guard action against protests that it is patronising. 

As for the colour, the Guardian breathlessly reported that the choice of bright pink had sparked “some internal debate about the issue”.

“There’s been a discussion about size and colour,” it quoted Ms Harman as saying. “This is actually a One Nation Labour colour. It will attract attention and will be different from the normal thing of people shouting down the megaphone… 

“Is it not magenta? … We wanted to mark that this was something different. Then we looked at a darker red but it looked like a Pret a Manger van.

““We wanted it to look conspicuous and therefore a white van wasn’t going to do the job. We were not going to have it blue or any of the other [party] colours.”

White van? After the Emily Thornberry boo-boo? Certainly not. 

So pink, sorry, magenta, it is. But Guardian readers have vented their wrath. Here’s what they said:  

“A misjudged patronising attempt at attracting women”, wrote one. “Men and women wear pink ribbons.”

“People normally come to us when they've tried painting it pink and it hasn't worked – they tell us, women just don't seem to like pink or flowers!”

“I've heard that Emily Thornberry said she wouldn't be seen dead in it!”

“Oh gender stereotypes.... pink, that must be for females”.

“Pink Mini Bus. That outta do it… ‘It's not pink’... and they wonder why they're not trusted!”

Meanwhile, for pure cant, there is little to beat the plea from Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee to get readers to stump up £540 a year to become “a founder member” to support the paper.

Its position, she says, is “precarious” and it doesn’t have “a press baron or oligarch” standing behind it. 

However, it does have – though strangely this goes unmentioned – some £850 million in cash reserves and has taken full advantage of offshore tax breaks to shield the dosh from the taxman. 

“Precarious”, however, may be a fair description of the paper’s prospects. Its circulation has dipped below 200,000 and is now outsold by the Independent’s ‘i’ edition. 

“There is an instinctive bond between Guardian readers”, she trills, “we almost nod to each other as we read the paper on a train”. 

With so few readers left, Mr Toynbee needs all the nods she can get. 

Nothing really beats The Guardian for its earnest, sanctimonious, right-on Leftist sermonising and aggressive feminism. Whether it’s global warming, or the bedroom tax, welfare dependency or spend-spend-spend Keynesian economics, you can faithfully expect the Guardian not just to grasp the wrong end of the stick but to bash its readers with it. 

As such, it is indeed a national treasure… of sorts. But £540 a year, for this platform for the seriously biased, opinionated, wrong-headed and downright deranged? I’d rather take my chance with the Pink Battle bus.

(Picture courtesy of BBC)





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