15 September 2011

There are no free lunches #nlpoli

Heard that before, right?

And it’s true.

Just because it is true - and most adults know it is true – doesn’t mean that all of them still aren’t willing to crave a free gnosh.

And not just lunches.

Free anything.

One of the oldest marketing ploys around is the old BOGOF:  buy one, get one free.  One of them really isn’t free.  You just think it is.


See that BOGOF over there.

You know you want one.

Go on.

See?  Told ya.

As in life, so in politics.

Free sells big.

Free education is the ticket for the province’s New Democrats in this election.  They are aiming heavily at the student vote. The provincial Dippers hope young people will work voting miracles.

So they are promising them free education.

And when they’d finished announcing that policy, they announced that they would actually phase it in.

First would come more grant money.

And eventually education would be free.

Give the Dippers your vote, the one you got for nothing in the first place, and they will deliver you free education.


Like four or five years from now after you’ve finished your degree.

And only if they accidentally accumulate enough credits to form a government first.

But that’s just details. 


Vote one, get one!


And free is really popular.  You can tell because the Canadian Federation of Students - a completely impartial group  the DNP loathes -  released a poll on Wednesday confirming for those who remained doubtful that fully 84% of those surveyed in the province thought free tuition was an amazingly, wonderfully great idea.

Coincidences are wonderful too, aren’t they?

Anyway, this Harris-Decima poll is a penetrating insight into the friggin’ obvious. People love freebies.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding, you have to hand it to both the Dippers and the CFS for coming up with a bit of retail politicking that plays to a potentially important voter segment for them. 

Education is one of the big issues for people.  We know that from the quarterly government polling that some people have pried out of government under access to information laws.

And this fake free lunch thing is exactly the sort of freebie that can get some headlines, generate some interest and hopefully not cause people to think too hard.  it’s simple enough that people can get the full impact of the NDP message in two words;  free education.

They just have to pray to the deity of their choice – for those who aren’t atheists – that no one thinks about the whole thing for two long.

For starters, people would realise that the NDP have to win this election to collect on the vote sell-off implicit in the NDP offer.  Since the NDP are actually campaigning for the Tories to win, that’s gonna be a hard one to collect.

Then there’s that whole free lunch thing.  “Free tuition” would actually be paid out of tax dollars.  And if it turns into increased cash to universities and colleges and grants to students for living allowances,  that ‘free’ is going to get quite expensive.

Forget tax cuts.

Forget spending more on other areas people want to see action on, like health care.

And if that wasn’t painful enough, consider that at the heart of the provincial NDP policy, they are really talking about having taxpayers in this province give a free education to people from anywhere but here as well.

There really are no free lunches.

But marketing like the Dippers are using just wants you to turn off the rational part of your brain for a long enough to cast a vote.

Just think of the free education policy as the spindly super vacuum that runs on double A batteries but sucks better than a Dyson and didn’t break a few weeks after the Canada Post truck dropped it off.

You got two for the low price of $49.95 or whatever it was.  You just had to pay the separate shipping and handling for both.

Same basic marketing premise.

- srbp -