You wait ages for a bus… and then Brexit haters (otherwise known as sore losers) hire one, if rather belatedly.
A battle bus sporting anti-Brexit slogans is to tour Britain to the delight of those who like a good laugh. The Brexit boat has sailed, chaps, and no bus will catch up with it.
The double-decker was unveiled this morning outside the Houses of Parliament and then had to circle the square a few times due to road works. This proves that, in spite of being an EU member for 25 years, Britain has retained her idiosyncratic charm, which includes a profusion of traffic cones as an essential feature.
If that was only good for a wry smile, the slogan inscribed on the bus rates a hearty guffaw. It says: “Brexit to cost £2,000 million a week. Is it worth it?”
Chaps, take it from an old advertising hand: when you pull an arbitrary number out of your rectum, eschew too many zeroes at the end if you want to sound credible.
Round numbers make punters incredulous. You should have said something like £1,984 million, hoping that such meticulous precision would produce the desired effect.
This way, instead of nodding their assent, the cynical British are more likely to think: “Yeah, yeah, pull the other one, it’s got bells on.” Some may even wonder how this number was arrived at, and that spells Trouble with a capital T.
Also, driving the bus all over the place won’t deliver the largest target audience. Here’s a piece of free advice based on 30 years’ experience in dirty tricks.
Instead of circling Parliament Square and swearing at the road works, you should park the bus on a double yellow line outside, say, Charing Cross station. In an hour or two the vehicle will get clamped, which is exactly what you want.
Removing the clamp will cost you £200 in the evening, which is peanuts considering that meanwhile tens of thousands of punters will be exposed to your message in one of London’s busiest streets. Your bus will sit there for hours before anyone will be able to do anything.
Don’t thank me – this is the least I can do to emphasise the impeccable integrity of the Remain campaign.
But I do like the idea of attaching some price tag to our sovereignty. Ever since Napoleon’s famous description of the British, the idea of monetising a proposition touches a chord in British hearts – this, although the nation has become one of shoplifters more than shopkeepers.
Talking pounds and pence is much better than talking in terms of abstract concepts. I mean, a market trader doesn’t hold up a trinket and ask “What do you think about the existential value of this object?” He asks: “Ow much dja think it costs inna best shops and stores? 20 quid? 15? 10? Well, all I ask…”
So suppose the answer to the question on the bus is no. Can we make a counteroffer? “I’ll give you 150,000 million quid, take it or leave it.” The haggling has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? And what will they say in response? “Listen, mate, I’m giving you the same deal I’d give me own mother…”?
Another bit of advertising wisdom. Never ask a question in the headline unless only one answer is possible. Hence “Wouldn’t you love to buy this widget?” is a no-no. “Wouldn’t you rather have this widget than AIDS?” would work much better.
Let’s face it, the sum of £2,000 million a week is so vast, especially if multiplied by 52 to arrive at the annual outlay, that most punters can’t imagine it – it’s a meaningless abstraction. What if they reply: “Course it’s bloody well worth it. I don’t give a monkey’s how much it costs.” That would leave the bus in a cul-de-sac, wouldn’t it?
I’m sorry about our Remainer friends. Is this really the best they can do? We know they can’t think about such things at any kind of depth. Now it turns out they can’t even lie well.
Where does the sum come from, lads? What kind of seer used what kind of crystal ball to see the economic future with so much precision? Give me his number, I’ll ask him to handle my pension fund.
Don’t bother to answer. We already know the Remain campaign is full of holes so big you can drive a bus through.