Monday, June 13, 2016

Shop At The Podemos Ikea

If the upcoming Spanish general election were to be fought on electoral promotion efforts alone, then Podemos would win by such a distance that they could ease up in the final straight, blow kisses to the crowd, stop to tie their shoelaces, assemble an entire bedroom out of flat-packs and still have time to cross the line with the stragglers well behind.

Podemos in Swedish would be "vi kan". Unlike mostly everyone else who struggles to assemble an Ikea flat-pack, Podemos have mastered the art. So well have they managed this, that they are demonstrating their prowess by having nicked - clothes-hook, washing-line, kitchen sink and Allen key - the Ikea brochure. Here we find, among others, Pablo Iglesias, staring at a mobile, seated on a Ikea Vilmar chair (colour white), while the Infant, Iñigo Errejón, is studiously attending to his homework (thesis on the rights of Bolivian tin miners in the pre-Chaco War period of the twentieth century) at what may or may not be a Hemnes desk (brown laminate finish). Others in the Podemos Ikea brochure include the Balearics' own Dave Spart: here is Alberto Jarabo with an Ikea PS 2002 watering can (colour sort of reddish).

Alberto, depicted tending to his flowers on what appears to be a rather cramped balcony, is one of the few (only) Podemistas not to be shown enjoying an appreciable amount of spacious interior design (by Ikea). Indeed, they all look remarkably affluent. How can this be, having insisted on receiving public-service remuneration barely greater than a Mercadona check-out person? Or possibly an Ikea check-out person.

But then one realises that these aren't necessarily their habitats (or Habitats, as in a formerly Conran style). They are in fact suggesting that anyone who votes for Podemos will receive an entire Ikea kitchen, such as the one in which Here Come Da Judge, Juan Pedro Yllanes, the Balearic Podemos number one for Congress, is to be seen taking a fair-sized knife to his lunch preparation. It looks pretty good too. I'll have one. Or would do, if I could have a vote.

Alas, though, this is not a grand means of bribing the voter. There is no such thing as a free lunch prepared in a free kitchen. Next to Da Judge, we find text about policies to bring about stable agrarian work, which isn't the same thing at all as a free kitchen.

So, what do Ikea make of all this? They are stressing that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the campaign and haven't offered any assessment of it. It could, one supposes, be excellent promotion for Ikea, though that might rather depend on voter sympathy. But as a promotion, you have to hand it to Podemos. Superb.

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