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The empty slogans of the ‘Volksparteien’ in the European Parliament election campaign in Germany

From its headquarters at the southern end of Stresemanstrasse as far as Potsdamer Platz, the SPD has filled the street with huge election posters for the European Parliament election campaign… and they are awful. The five main posters are shown below.

For me the main test for an election slogan is to ask myself: would anyone actually want to run with the opposite slogan? If they would, then there is some political conflict or statement of ethics there that means something. If no-one would use the opposite the slogan is probably not worth writing. The pictures used by the SPD are also pretty awful – they look like people posing for a H&M or Uniqlo advert, rather than something to do with an election.

Anyway to the posters…

spd-wachstum
1) Translation: “A Europe of Growth. Not at a standstill.”
The opposite: “Europe at a standstill. Not a Europe of growth.”
The opposite slogan means nothing at all, and whatever Europe is, it most definitely is not at a standstill. This one is probably the worst of the lot. And what have the kids got to do with economic growth?

spd-miteinander
2) Translation: “A Europe of togetherness. Not against each other.”
Opposite: “A Europe of against each other. Not of togetherness.”
I cannot imagine that even a far-right party would ever put up a slogan saying Europe’s people should be pitted against each other, so this slogan does nothing to say why the SPD is any different from anyone else.

spd-menschen
3) Translation: “A Europe of people. Not of money”
Opposite: “A Europe of money. Not of people.”
Again no-one is ever going to defend the opposite slogan, although there’s some vague meaning to the SPD’s original – trying to put the people at the centre of their policies? But it’s still poor, and the picture is nauseous.

spd-demokratie
4) Translation: “A Europe of democracy. Not of paternalism.”
Opposite: “A Europe of paternalism. Not of democracy.”
Who can seriously oppose democracy in the EU? No-one is ever going to say it, even if they actually do not put it into practice.

spd-chancen
5) Translation: “A Europe of chances. Not of unemployment”
Opposite: “A Europe of unemployment. Not of chances.”
Again totally vacuous and useless. Who would ever say they are in favour of an EU that seeks to increase unemployment?

But, you say, maybe these posters distinguish the SPD from the CDU…?
cdu-chancen
1) Translation: “So Europe brings chances for all”
Opposite: “So Europe does not bring chances for all”
Can anyone tell how this differs from the SPD’s slogan? Kudos though, the people in the pic don’t look they are from a clothes advertisement.

cdu-euro
2) Translation: “So a more stable Euro helps everyone”
Opposite: “So a less stable Euro helps no-one”
I suppose this means that the Euro ought to be organised along the lines of how the Bundesbank used to be organised? But that is a treaty requirement anyway, and not to do with the European Parliament elections? And that grandfather looks like he’s got a bit of Bevormundung going on there.


2 Comments

  • Arjan Tupan |

    Funny and sad at the same time. The last one, of the CDU, reminds me of the Werther’s Original candy commercial.

  • Manuel Müller |

    The problem is that the smaller parties are not much better. Even in the case of the Greens, nobody would defend the opposite of their slogans:
    – “For unlimited wiretapping opportunities”
    – “For a Europe in which some people go under”
    – “Europe, forget about your youth”
    – “Against climate protection without borders” (or: “For climate protection with borders”?)
    and so on…
    (You can see the Green posters here: http://www.designtagebuch.de/die-plakate-zur-europawahl-2014-teil-1/)

So, what do you think ?