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Essay: Do Conservatives prefer bulldogs?

Dodgy statistics show that 50% of dogs on British burglar alarms are bulldogs – rising to 75% in Conservative wards.

A decade of dog alarms – the top row are all bulldogs

I have only come across 10 unique dog-themed burglar alarms so far, not a lot for an allegedly mutt-loving nation, but they employ a good range of styles. Exactly half bear that stereotypical British emblem, the bulldog; two more portray alsatians (or what look like them); one is a non-specific watchdog; one a soppy Pointer; and one pointed graffiti. Since there are so few, it makes a good test-bed for my “alarms reflect their area” theory. You can see how they break down by political constituency below…

Dog-themed burglar alarms from Conservative areas

Conservative dogs (above): It may be serependipity, but these guard dogs of Conservative territory couldn’t look more like caricatures of swivel-eyed Toryism if they tried. All mean business in unambiguous shades of black, white and royal blue. All feature threatening-looking attack dogs with right-wing connotations – three bulldogs and one alsatian – in attitudes ranging from cartoon ferocity to shadowy authority. One even looks like he’s accompanied by a badly drawn Nazi prison guard. You wouldn’t want to tangle with this lot. Verdict: overdogs.

Dog-themed burglar alarms from Lib-Dem areas

Lib-Dem dogs (above): Both these quirky and rather sensitive dogs look battered yet hopeful and eager to please – one whimsical and dreamy, one panting and aspirational – and both are on temporary-looking stickers (one of which is jokey graffiti). Both also occupy a constituency held by the Lib-Dems – castigated by many as a flimsy patchwork of dreamers and aspirants, peeling away from a bodged-up power base. It may be coincidence, but it’s certainly a good match. Verdict: whipping dogs.

Dog-themed burglar alarms from Labour areas

Labour dogs (above): The dogs protecting Labour wards are a motley-looking crew. Two come to heel in Old Labour red and white; another sports grubby coalition blue-and-yellow; while the sternest has a spot of true blue at its heart. They’re more wordy than their Tory-based brethren, and lack their clear message. There’s less overt aggression, with even the bulldogs relying solely on verbiage. Muddying the waters further are a pointy-headed pointer and the CCTV-ish eye of a non-specific watchdog (Ofcom? Ofwat?), a symbol beloved by the Daily Mail and its running dogs to represent New Labour nannying and quangoid waste. Verdict: lost dogs.

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Formerly

A book about disappearing London

Formerly cover.
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