The government has printed some 30 million glossy brochures and has delivered them to every household in the United Kingdom. The brochures set out the government’s case for remaining in the United Kingdom and a debate is raging as to whether the government should have used public funds to undertake this, without giving those who are urging a “leave” vote a similar opportunity.
I have looked at the brochure. Its content is rather banal and if the government want to publish banalities my only objection is that that use my taxes so to do. About half the brochure is taken up with photographs which do not to add to the government’s case. One is a photograph of a calendar, another shows two workers in boiler suits doing something to machinery. There is a lovely picture of wire shopping basket in a supermarket and another shows an aerial view of docks. Then we have a photo of a sign that proclaims “UK Border” and finally there are two sweet photos of a family, one in the kitchen, and the other in the street.
The cost of this publication including its distribution is said to be £9 million, but I rather suspect the true cost is much higher. About 99% of the brochures will either end up in landfill or be recycled so the environmental cost of this publication is very high indeed. The contents of the brochure could have been set out on a sheet of A4 paper at a fraction of the environmental and financial cost, or sent out using social media with almost no financial or environmental cost. 16 pages of glossy brochure printed 30 million times is a lot of landfill.