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Ponderings on all aspects of travel - both at home and abroad.

Kevin Pilley: Read between the lines

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Kevin Pilley is irate over insidious notes arriving from abroad.
They look innocent, but  they are seen by at least one as the vehicles for devious brainwashing.
They look innocent, but they are seen by at least one as the vehicles for devious brainwashing.

Kiwis are so naive. New Zealanders trust their post. Too much.

They believe in what they read. From abroad.

The receive messages from far away. Which are far away from reality.

Read between the lines, people!

It's not just the Euro politicians who are constantly pointing out what a wonderful place Europe is and will be. Or isn't and never will be.

Rather suspiciously, our friends and families may have got in on the act too.

Eye-catching little picture postcards jump through our letter-boxes telling us what a lovely place Europe is; how wonderful its food and how warm and friendly its people. And we believe them.

Without checking the signature.

Increasingly, you cannot help thinking that this is one big con and that being bombarded the way we are by all these subliminal images of the continent is just another stunt, dreamed up and perpetrated by certain devious Eurocrats, to convince us of the great benefits as well as drawbacks to be gained from holidaying in various parts of Europe.

In short, the humble picture postcard has fallen into the hands of the politicians and PR people and is being used, quite unscrupulously, for political and commercial ends.

Our minds are being manipulated. Our brains washed. The balanced, unbiased and accurate reporting of the facts - for which the postcard was not so long ago justly renowned - are over.

The picture postcard has fallen into the wrong hands. It has become a powerful propaganda weapon.

Look at cousin Mary's recent card from Greece. Previously indifferent to anything other than a deep and long-lasting tan, she has suddenly and quite mysteriously turned into a convinced European idealist. ("What a gorgeous spot! Hotel is v.comfortable and weather superb!")

Or niece Cath's scribble from southern Italy. Once couldn't-care-less, she too has undergone some sort of conversion and suddenly turned or been turned into an outspoken critic of all non-Italian people. ("The men here are unbelievable!")

And even dear old Bob from work, formerly a staunch critic of France and a fierce opponent of all things EU, is now outspokenly pro-the whole European experience. ("Great time being had by all! Can't fault the place! Food brill. Plonk magic. And whoever condemns crepes is a fool.")

The postal service is clearly being exploited for neo-political ends. To fan the spirit of European federalism. Or douse it.

The marketeers are at work.

Everyone is going abroad and being turned, wittingly or unwittingly we'll never know, into EU lobbyists. Or Euro-sceptics. Brand ambassadors. Like my father-in-law who sent us a card from his Rhine cruise saying "Germans are great and Euros so easy to understand".

I began to doubt its authenticity when I read the postscript "kilometres are much better than miles".

The agitators have got hold of the postcard. They are trying to win our hearts and minds through it. To enlist us on to their side. They are playing with our heads.

At this very moment, in small smoky rooms off the corridors of power in Brussels and Strasbourg and antiseptic travel PR tourism cells, people are intercepting postcards, quickly but carefully editorialising them and subtly amending their messages.

Through seemingly simple and innocuous phrases like "Nowhere like it!", "An absolutely fascinating place!" and "the sweeping revision of company laws, regulatory practices and trade legislation has made this into a holiday of a lifetime for everyone!" we - at the other side of the world - are all being indoctrinated and brainwashed.

And now other countries are involved.

I've just received a card from my godson. He's in London. "It's a dump. Laos is better - fantastic people. Compared to here the whole of Europe is a total letdown".

I've just written to my god-daughter who is in Canada. All I wrote was: "Hope you are well. Wish were here."

So I'm a propaganda patsy, too.

Can you trust what you read?

Is it genuine? Is it heartfelt?

It's shocking. The sheer volume of this transparent propaganda raises some serious and searching questions for any friend of freedom. Does this calculated manipulation of our attitudes imply a denial of respect for freedom of opinion?

Your paranoiac answers, on postcards, please.

- NZ Herald

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