.”Speakers of Europe: EU Elections Recommendations Booklet“, with the enthusiastic subtitle “The first gamebook about the EP Elections!” is an atypical gamebook, at least among those usually being mentioned in this blog. It’s a gamebook that offers some guidelines on making campaigns to encourage participation in elections, more specifically the elections for the European Parliament in 2014.
Gamebooks with an educational purpose have a long history. They are in fact older than the narrative gamebooks themselves. So, the “TutorText” series of interactive textbooks, inspired on the ideas about “programmed learning” from the psychologist, behaviorist and social philosopher B.F.Skinner, started being published no less than in 1958, and was aknowledged as an influence by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.
“Speakers of Europe” was an 8 days course aimed at social workers and community managers from several countries, in which the matter of the elections to the EU Parliament was discussed, and abstention was perceived as a critical threat. From that starting point of view, they were asked to design a campaign to encourage voting. One of the products from that campaign was this gamebook.
The choices in this gamebook are few, and I think it’s interesting to mention them. On the second page, two options are presented:
- Are we an individual?
- Or are we a civil society organisation?
If we choose the first, we receive a pat on the back and a subtle reprimand, that could be translated to something like “find more people and take the other option“.
#10 YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL
You understand the importance of these elections and you want to make a communication campaign, raise awareness and bring more people on board? Just talk about it to your friends!
It is an important and “hot” issue. Involving people into a conversation can help them make an informed decision and this is all you need. It simply takes a little time and energy. If you have it, go for it!
NOW, GO TO #4
So, let’s suppose we have taken the second option. After some advices relative to the message of the campaign and the methods of communication, there’s another choice, perhaps the most interesting one:
- Do we have money?
- Or do we have little to no money?
For the second option, we are being suggested websites, social media, newsletters, etc. If we have funds, we are proposed paid advertisements, lectures, debates and round tables. And then it goes on giving some more advice to make more effective our hypothetical campaign for participation in the elections to the UE Parliament.
But, in my humble opinion, the people of “Speakers of Europe” have forgotten probably the most interesting option in their second choice. One that, I believe, would turn any of the other suggestions unnecessary:
- Do we have a ginormous amount of money?
Oh, boy! Here we open up a whole world of possibilities. We can build a lobby! And start being part of a group as cheerful as the one at the UE district in Brussels. Over 1,000 lobby groups, hundreds of public relations firms and law firms offering lobbying services, dozens of corporate think-tanks, offices of “EU affairs” controlled by corporations, more than 15,000 professional lobbyists! Here we could feel as if we were in Disneyworld…
And we wouldn’t even need to make a campaign for votes. Why for? That’s what real professionals are for, consultancies and law firms that would know how to work out the best strategies to combine corporate interests and the world of politics into a unique and wonderful whole. It doesn’t matter what do people vote. Be it the green party, the red party or the blue party, laws will be the color that you and your millionaire friends want them to be. Welcome to the wonderful world of the corridors of power! And if all goes wrong, the Greeks get pig-headed and you have to flee the country, there will always be a charter flight to Bahamas and a delicious Daikiri in good company.
Joking aside, it’s interesting to see how there are gamebooks being written with political statements. This “Speakers of Europe” makes a political statement. It maintains that voting in the UE elections is useful. And, therefore, that it is possible to have an impact in the UE by means of a vote.
It is a message. But, in my opinion, it’s not the only message possible. I can imagine lots of other things I could talk about by means of a different gamebook.
And… why not? A political gamebook, anyone?