Thursday, 25 August 2016

Human Rights Lottery Advertisement (1976)

In 1976, after three years of austerity and drastic cuts, the government admitted that there were no longer enough human rights to go around. Stockpiles diminished at such an alarming rate that only one UK citizen in twenty had access to inalienable human rights and by the end of the decade it would plummet to only one in a hundred.

The populace was dissatisfied with the government's initial solution, which was to mail out IOU letters. In lieu of human rights, these official missives offered a non-legally-binding 'gentlemen's agreement' to provide substitute rights akin to human rights, which were never fully defined and thus remained completely open to interpretation. Indeed, many citizens were not entirely sure that they adequately fulfilled the government's criteria to be considered human.

As a token of goodwill, the government offered an annual Human Rights Lottery (see magazine ad above), but cancelled it after three years because, according to an official press release, "granting human rights to only a few citizens is not in the interest of a fair and equal society".

Thursday, 11 August 2016

'Allclear' Open-Air Nuclear Bunkers

click to enlarge

In 1971 the government's civil defence budget was slashed. Local councils limited their building of conventional nuclear bunkers and focused instead on cheaper alternatives, for the general populace anyway.

From government public information literature:

"Though secure, Britain's existing nuclear bunkers are cramped and do not offer the comforts of home living. Built from drab, uninspiring concrete, they are brazenly unaesthetic and because they lack natural light, occupiers risk becoming fed up during their stay.

"Government officials, royals and the independently wealthy have courteously opted to endure these cheerless conditions so that you don't have to*.

"We think that you and your family deserve more agreeable accommodation when that 4-Minute Warning jingle sounds.

"Enter ALLCLEAR, the government's new post-nuclear solution for YOU. ALLCLEAR Open-Air Bunkers are easily erected in approx. 60 minutes. They are light, airy and available in a choice of fun colours: orange or yellowy-red. They even come with their own FREE
power-string, velcro all-seasons flap and a multipurpose stick [...]

"*Please note that any attempt to secure a place in a traditional concrete bunker (and in doing so compromise the well-intended benevolence of the abovementioned persons) will be rejected with extreme prejudice."

Friday, 5 August 2016

Scarfolk Olympic Games (1976)

In 1976 Scarfolk Council released its own Olympic Official Collectors Edition booklet, which focused on some of the lesser known disciplines. When the Olympic Games were accused of being a hotbed of corruption, bribery, insanitariness and illegal doping, the Olympic Committee simply sanctioned them as official Olympic sports.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

"People Are Dangerous" (1974-1975)

During the People Purges of 1974 and 1975, the many people who peopled Scarfolk were alarmed to learn that they were now the kinds of people that the government categorised as "people".

With no clear definition of what the state meant by "people", the mayor, who had previously declared himself a man of the people, tried to alleviate anxiety among his people by saying he didn't want to drive a wedge between people; he only intended to arrest those kinds of people who he deemed not to be "people people".

He said that he of all people knew that the most effective way to crack down on these people was with "people power": People working together to observe people, being able to tell people apart and then reporting those people to the appropriate people in authority.

On the 13 August 1975, the only people not in prison were six government officials, members of Scarfolk police force and a man called Dennis Peoples who suffered from a rare psychiatric syndrome called Clinical Lycanthropy which led him to believe he was a puffer fish.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Summer Fete Leaflet (1976)

As can be seen from this leaflet advertising a local fete, acts of terror and violent incidents were so frequent in 1970s Scarfolk that many people came to expect them and planned their days around them. Employers and local councils built them into their calendars and children spent more than half their school time memorising and rehearsing emergency drills. Violence was endured like bad weather, inconvenient yet seemingly unavoidable.

Eventually, however, terrorists and murderous loners found it too demanding to keep up with the schedules expected by others and, disheartened by the public's apathetic reaction to their actions, stubbornly refused to commit any more atrocities until they once again inspired the fear they felt they deserved. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Drug Advertisements (1970)

When Scarfolk's Mayor Ritter announced his determination to fight the war on drugs, he meant it. He also knew that if you want to win a war, it has to exist in the first place. Fortunately, Ritter had shares in the Cavalier Pharmaceutical company with whom the council secretly collaborated on a scheme to introduce vast amounts of highly-addictive narcotics into the daily lives of Scarfolk children.

The scheme not only bolstered Cavalier Pharm and other local industries; by the end of the decade it had also attracted increased government funding for the region's police and prison services. Additionally, as many young addicts didn't make it to adulthood, the strain on the NHS and welfare programmes was greatly reduced.

When Ritter was lauded for his services to the town, he said he had only done it for the children who, he declared, "are the future", though it became apparent that he specifically meant his own children who had been conceived during occult rituals, had never been exposed to the drug schemes and now had many more career opportunities than they might have had otherwise.

Above and below are 1970 drug advertisements by Cavalier Pharm. By 1972 barbiturates had been introduced to school milk, and drugs such as heroin were included in the ingredients of Pick 'n' Mix sweet selections.

More Cavalier Pharm related posts: Mindborstal and Children & Hallucinogens: The Future of Discipline.  See also: Lobottymed (Discovering Scarfolk. p.15) and Placebol (Discovering Scarfolk. p.66).

Friday, 15 July 2016

Xenophobic Postcards


In 1972 the University of Scarfolk trialled a new drug that affects the part of the brain that produces racist attitudes.

Researchers observed that the subjects lost control of their bodily functions and had to wear clinical incontinence products. Additionally, many subjects found it difficult to form coherent thoughts, much less verbalise them, and their mental ages registered as those of infants.

The experiment was discontinued, not on ethical grounds, but because the researchers concluded that there were no discernible behavioural and psychological differences between the racists who had taken the drug, and the control group of racists that hadn't.

When the Foreign Secretary read the study's findings, he decided that xenophobia should be extolled as one of Britain's defining virtues and he immediately set out to promote this idea abroad.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Voting in the 1970s

Research into confirmation bias at Scarfolk University in 1973 showed that 87% of people will not deviate from their beliefs, no matter how much counter evidence is presented to them. However, the study found that the figure drops considerably if torture is used, with more than 50% of subjects losing all their beliefs, largely because their brains stop functioning during the study.

These findings demonstrated to the government that informing citizens and giving them a choice is futile because they've already made up their minds, often basing their decisions on irrelevant, whimsical criteria such as whether a politcian's eyes are too close together, his choice of football team, or if he took an active part in the unwarranted decimation and exploitation of a foreign nation for personal financial gain.

By the mid-1970s the government had vastly overspent on citizen persecution and "physical coercion" and no longer had the resources to enforce the election and referendum outcomes it desired. It felt that the only way forward was simply to "remove those limiting aspects of the democratic process which give citizens a say in the running of the country". Consequently, a referendum was set for early 1975 and the public was politely encouraged to ban the right to vote and give itself over to iron-handed totalitarian rule.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Europe Referendum TV advertisement (1975)

During the lead up to the 1975 EEC referendum, the government realised that the only way it could maintain its authority was to appear equally for and against Europe. It did this in two ways: First, by having its ministers wildly contradict each other on an almost daily basis, and second, by rejecting the use of facts and evidence, which the state viewed as hindrances in the political sphere. This strategy would eventually be formalised in the 1976 Truth Reform
The population was confused by this persistent doubletalk and consistent vagueness, but confusion was very much intended. Those in power know well that if their true positions can be obscured through contradiction they can never be shown to be wrong and therefore can't ever be opposed effectively. When citizens can no longer differentiate between truth and fiction, they are easier to control.

Scarfolk politicians were the first to utilise 'puzzlement politics'. Though their first attempts were crude - pumping ergot into the water supply and lobotomising people during routine tonsillectomies - they eventually launched the more nuanced "Don't" and the "No!" campaigns. These made the populace much more manageable and much less likely to shuffle around in circles drooling.

Incidentally, the music by Steven O'Brien in this advertisement also appeared on the Scarfolk library LP The Big Brass Sound of Patronising Encouragement.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

"Trampvertising" (1973-1979)

 In 1973 the council ratified a bylaw which legalised the exploitation of all homeless people as advertising spaces. It became known as 'Trampvertising'. At first, only small, local businesses took advantage of the new law but large corporations soon started bulk buying advertising space, which drove up prices.

These big companies also insisted on the option of permanent tattoo advertising because their homeless human billboards frequently lost, ate or soiled the paper-based marketing materials.

By 1975 Scarfolk Council could no longer meet the demands of national and multinational businesses and began losing clients to neighbouring towns. To stay competitive, the council had no choice but to generate new advertising space.

It did this by targeting poor families and individuals at risk, ensuring that they lost their homes and livelihoods through a series of punitive taxes and fines. These included the exorbitant Gormless Tax and the Unemployment Tax, which charged jobless citizens 37% of the wage they would have earned had they become a barrister and not been barred from attending a good school.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Horned Deceiver

The Horned Deceiver appeared in several Scarfolk publications in the early 1970s, one of which we featured a few weeks ago (see here).

As followers of the traditional state religion dwindled, a gap opened in the faith market. The Horned Deceiver exploited this by targeting the lower middle-class, under-12 demographic, relying initially on playground word-of-mouth. By 1973 he had become so popular that he produced a successful range of merchandising including lunchboxes, bed sheets and wallpaper, plush dolls and black candles made from human tallow. He was a regular guest on local radio and on television where he appeared on celebrity panel quiz shows such as Celebrity Squares and Blankety Blank (see below).

Though well-liked, he eventually lost the pagan market to Mr Johnson of the Officist cult (see Discovering Scarfolk for more details) who had the enthusiastic backing of local politicians and business magnates whose families had been kidnapped and threatended by the cult.

The Horned Deceiver on Blankety Blank, BBC 1, 1979.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Children's Vermin Extermination Clubs

By 1973, poverty was widespread in the UK and 80% of Scarfolk residents relied on soup kitchens. At first, the council alleviated the problem by exploiting an existing urban food source, but once the supply of homeless people was exhausted, a more sustainable food solution had to be found.

Scarfolk Vermin Extermination Club (see leaflet above), which was launched in 1974, encouraged children to scavenge through cellars, rubbish tips and industrial wasteland and eat the pests they caught. Initially, youngsters cooked their prey, but parents complained that expecting children to use matches without supervision was irresponsible and dangerous. Thereafter, rats, pigeons, mice, and even foxes (which became collectively known as 'ghetto tartare') were consumed in their raw state.

Unsurprisingly, pest control clubs became popular throughout the country and gained thousands of new eager members. The most requested Christmas gifts of 1974 were steel-reenforced jaw braces and hunting dentures which were required if children wanted to adequately render sinew, skin and bone. Which they did in vast numbers: The many tonnes of discarded bones were used to partially reconstruct the House of Commons which had been damaged by hungry children in search of the vermin rumoured to be teeming within its walls. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Regional BBC Scarfolk TV Programmes

In 1979 the government told the BBC that it needed to have more control over its regional programming, especially in Scarfolk. The culture secretary delivered a whitepaper in the form of a nursery rhyme, the lyrics of which warned the BBC that it should "create distinction or face extinction". To illustrate his point, the culture secretary brought along the education secretary, who he dressed as a dinosaur, and the secretary of state for work and pensions who was dressed as the meteor which wiped out all living things.

However, the culture secretary did not define exactly what he meant by "distinctive" and within the year BBC Scarfolk had begun broadcasting programmes which it felt satisfied the government's demands. Many of these programmes didn't make it past pilots, much less receive full series commissions. Again, the culture secretary had to intervene. He suggested programme titles that the goverment would prefer to see, programmes such as "Great, Amazing, Incredible Conservative Heroes", "Report Your Neighbour!" and "Strictly Catapult", which saw the coastal construction of an immense contraption which launched unaccompanied child refugees at great velocity back to their native countries.