As Labour’s popularity is at an all-time-low, the next general election could prove a real opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to make an impact on the two major parties. So, it’s good to see they’re focusing on the major issues affecting Britain today.
The idea that advertisements should be banned from showing airbrushed models is laughable, and yet this appears to be a serious proposal. Their argument is simple: teenage girls see airbrushed women on TV and strive to reach similar levels of unnatural perfection, damaging their health on the way. Therefore, we must ban advert actresses from being airbrushed. This is illiberal nonsense. I used to buy shaving gel advertised by David Beckham; it never tempted me to to cover myself in tattoos or grow a Mohawk!
Long before TV adverts came around, people would go to any lengths to look attractive and acquire what they saw as the perfect body shape, even if it damaged their health. In 1903, for example, Gladys Deacon had hot wax injected into her face to reshape her nose. It destroyed her face, but nobody considered banning candles. There is clearly a human desire to look good. Banning certain TV adverts is not going stop this.
If they are going to take advantage of the massive political opportunity the polls are currently giving them, the Lib Dems are going to have to up their game and tackle the serious problems facing Britain, rather than raising gimmicky minor issues worthy of a fringe party. It will be interesting to see whether Nick Clegg can take them to the next level.