The Loneliest Jukebox

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Give Me a Break

According to the Guardian*, Tony Blair is cultivating 'Take a Break woman' as a key type of voter in the forthcoming general election. There's enough of these women to match the population of Scotland, with low incomes, a tough line on crime, and raising children as their top priority.

For those who don't read it, Take a Break is an excellent magazine for passing an auditor's TOE test: it provides its readers with sufficient Threat, Opportunity and Entertainment to guarantee repeat purchasing. In Blair's vision, they replace 'Basildon man', 'mondeo man' and US-style soccer moms as a ready-made electoral base. Hence him begging the mag for an interview.

Here's the problem: a politician who adapts to prospect voters and their prejudices, rather than winning them over to his programme, broadening their horizons in the process. To a Leninist, such methods stink of 'economism'. Whereas Prince Charles gets it in the neck for criticising people who get 'ideas above their station', politicians such as Blair run a mile from treating their relationship with the voters as a transformative one where the voters are improved by backing his party.

The only thing that suprises me in all this is that commentators have yet to leak the advice that Take a Break staffers are given in-house: 'Remember our reader: she has three children by three different convicts'. (Oops! A leak.) Once again, the public and private uses of demographic profiles tells you a lot about what officialdom really thinks of the public...

*Read on:

In pursuit of Tracey

Polly Toynbee
November 19 2004

The man behind Take a Break woman

Stephen Armstrong
November 22 2004


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