A highly regarded university professor has put his position in jeopardy by becoming the latest in a string of figures to go against popular belief and affirm that traditional election campaign signs, posters and placards are "ineffectual, pointless and unsightly".
Professor Neil Hawthorn from the Department of Social Studies at Leeds University claims that, contrary to the common opinion held by the main political parties, the UK electorate are not "mindless drones lacking the ability to form their own opinion of candidates based on national policies and local issues" and are in fact "free thinking individuals".
Labour leader Gordon Brown was relatively circumspect, clearly expecting members of his own party to be watching for any opportunity to eject him as leader as early in the campaign as possible. "I can understand the professor's position", he said, "but historical evidence shows that a successful election stems from a backbone of successful placard placement."
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was less generous to the voting public, saying "I am certainly not defining anyone who might support my party as a mindless drone but I know they've switched off already and I can just say blah blah blah without really affecting our chances one jot."
Conservative leader David Cameron scoffed at Prof. Hawthorn's theory, stating in a haughty elitist manner "Every voter I've ever met simply ticks the box for whichever party they last saw a sign or poster about. I can say virtually anything I like about any topic and know full well that I will be ignored by most of the general public. Why do you think we put so little effort into party political broadcasts? We know no-one bothers to watch them. Every voter in the country is already completely fatigued about the election and we've barely started yet. Without placards, no-one save for a few elite individuals would have the slightest clue who to vote for. I've already considering voting Labour myself because my neighbour has put up a couple of annoying red-emblazoned signs poking just above their hedge. Their influence is undeniable."
One local resident in Leeds said "I'm so thoroughly glad that next door have put up three Liberal Democrat boards in their front lawn, completely blocking my view down the road when reversing out of my drive. My near miss with a cyclist this morning completely focussed my attention on those signs and they have certainly made me think twice about voting Labour. My original opinion, formed through a personal assesment of the political landscape and the effect various parties would have on my life both nationally and locally, has been completely brushed aside by a wooden board with a bit of paper stapled to it."
Prof. Hawthorn was unavailable for comment.