The Greens do all their own stunts

wronga2THE Green Party must chase headlines and pull more stunts, be more ‘radical’. This was the assessment of one of its livelier local activists, Benali Hamdache, earlier this year.

And so it came to be that the party’s radical, headline-chasing young members headed off to Wonga’s Camden Town offices to set up a stunt bake sale outside.

The felt tip on leader Natalie Bennett’s cardboard sign explains the premise of the stunt: they give you a free cake and you give them lots of cake back. Like a Wonga loan. 

The demonstration missed, not the point, but the moment a little. The issue of pay-day loans may be ongoing and unsoothed, a permanent source of public discontent, but the lenders were on the rack a fortnight or so ago when they were squirming on Newsnight and taking questions at Parliament. That might have been the time to cook up the stall. 

The lack of pick-up may not be too much of a worry for campaigners, the photos that didn’t score so large in the local press will no doubt be of use on election leaflets in the future.

But it is a challenge now for anyone who isn’t Stella Creasy to distinguish themselves in the everyone-hates-Wonga political narrative. The noise sounds a little like: We hate them, no we hate them more.

And that’s when parties turn to stunts. Benali may simply be being realistic when he calls for more of them, especially in a party that has to work harder for press coverage. With elections ahead, stand by for more from all of the parties in the near future.

They will be of varying quality, though. Sometimes it feels like there is shortage of fresh ideas in all forms of marketing, stretching beyond politics. You can imagine the brainstorming sessions: let’s have a flashmob, let’s beam something big on the Houses of Parliament, let’s have a ‘pop-up’ something, let’s have a boss going back to the floor (for 2 mins and a photo), let’s have a giant inflatable thing…

And ultimately the reaction to the headline-chasing stunts, the Greens are contemplating, can go two ways, received as sassy and ingenuitive, or shallow. It’s a tricky line to navigate.

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