Thursday, 10 December 2015

"Don't Wait to Hesitate" Public Information (1970)

Scarfolk Council wanted to nurture a generation of passive citizens so that it could do what it wanted without interference. But it was also fully aware that it needed to sell this passivity as positive action.

A 1970 government leaflet (see above) stated that "urgent, active dithering is strongly recommended" and that "citizens should be single-minded about being in two minds. Resolute hesitation may or may not have made Britain what it is today."

Dithering and faffing were also promoted in the media as attractive character traits and by summer of that year large DIY stores were selling specially-designed garden furniture to consumers who wanted to literally sit on their fences. Student activists wore T-Shirts emblazoned with fashionable slogans such as 'Don't Go to War With Hem & Haw', 'Yes & No & Maybe' and 'Erm'.

By the end of 1972, however, the state had become aware of the long-term physical and economic side-effects of sustained dithering. Unforeseen mass drooling, for example, cost the state hundreds of thousands of pounds in community bibs, and by 1973 the promotion of hesitation gave way to the more definitive 'Don't' campaign.

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