Kaupo Meiel: Topics great and small
One danger of a long and intense elections campaign is parties' messages melting into one, as I am already convinced that the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) loves Estonia that is cared for by the Reform Party (medley of elections slogans – ed.), Kaupo Meiel says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
Parties and stronger elections coalitions have launched their local elections campaigns. There are television adverts and roadsides lined with posters as much as they are with colorful leaves. Candidates could stalk you at every step, wearing smiles wider than those shot at you by people selling investment opportunities in supermarket lobbies. Elections debates are being broadcast by Eesti Televisioon, Vikerraadio and other media channels worth their salt.
There are so many debates taking place in the media and major cities, that one cannot help but feel sorry for the candidates. The race is on now, with appearing fresh and original at increasingly frequent events perhaps the toughest challenge of all.
Not everyone can give the same presentation in a cheerful and coherent fashion at several consequent events. Those who can deserve admiration.
A few years ago, I participated in an Estonian writers' library tour in Lääne and Saare counties. Three people in our company of four told a different story at each event to keep things interesting for themselves, while the fourth, who can just about be considered a living legend, managed to repeat their admittedly very interesting presentation word for word everywhere we took to the stage.
By the end of the tour, the three of us were quite capable of recounting his tale verbatim. However, the audience was different everywhere we went and always heard the presentation for the first time. It makes no sense to change what works.
Candidates are also forced to say the same things over and over again when campaigning, the problem being that sometimes, they have been saying the same things and describing the same visions from one election to the next.
The feeling that I have heard it all before last hit me when tuning in to ETV "Valmisstuudio" on Wednesday evening for the Pärnu local elections debate. The problems are largely the same they were in 2017, whereas the ups have not changed that much either. Narva, Tartu and Tallinn debates are looming in which we will also very likely be treated to the same messages as before.
The aim of local administration is always to make life a little better, whereas ways parties go about attempting it aren't that different either. While one can touch on major topics, they do little to change life in a small municipality at local elections. One needs local topics, whether we are talking about streets, a tree here or there, garbage collection, kindergarten fees, public transport etc.
Debate organizers worry that major topics have little to do with local elections, while narrower ones fail to draw crowds. That said, it is good the problems and successes of other places in Estonia besides Tallinn are thoroughly covered once every four years.
Election day is still some weeks off, with plenty of time left to be bored with adverts, debates and discussion. However, it renders Estonia more whole and familiar at least for a while, whether people are discussing big or small topics. Therefore, everything is just as fine as it was during the previous local elections, and the ones before that, and the ones before that.
However, one danger of a long and intense elections campaign is parties' messages melting into one.
Eventually, it is difficult to understand whether the Greens are greener than the Social Democrats, even though the latter are red, while you get yellow if you put green and red together. Isamaa is about to sweep the square that Center seems to consider to be the right move. On top of that, I am already convinced that EKRE loves Estonia that is cared for by the Reform Party. Suddenly, I don't know who to vote for.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski