Just over a year ago now, the Labour party (remember them?) released an online tool which promised to tell you how many people on the electoral register shared your first name.
This turned out to be rather a good wheeze. Like the similar “Which number baby born on the NHS are you?” tool, the site was a minor social media sensation. It persuaded many thousands of people to enter their details, reminded them to register to vote, and also – the real point of the exercise, one assumes – handed their email address to the Labour party, which would then spam it forever more. We’d probably be talking about how important digital strategies like this had been in Labour’s election victory, were it not for the awkward fact that the party lost, catastrophically.
Anyway. My first name is Jonn, or at least has been since I started deliberately misspelling it in a bout of undergraduate pretention 16 years ago now. But Jonn isn’t really a name – legally, it’s not even my name – so I assumed there probably weren’t any Jonns on the electoral register. Instead, I decided to ask a different question.
As it turned out, there aren’t many Adolfs on the electoral register either (not enough for the Labour party to give me a figure, anyway). But for nearly a year now, my alter ego, Adolf Elledge, has been getting spam from the Labour party.
They don’t address him as Adolf Elledge, of course – that would be a bit formal. They just address him as Adolf. And so, the day before last year’s, I received a grateful missive from Ed Miliband, under the subject line “Here’s to you, Adolf”.
Earlier that day, Ed’s wife Justine had emailed to remind Adolf to vote. Apparently, Adolf is the sort of man who can appreciate a good pictogram.
The party seemed pretty convinced that Adolf Elledge was some sort of one nation socialist.
Despite Adolf’s support, though, on the Friday, Ed Miliband was forced to send him this.
Undeterred by this setback, a few days later, Harriet Harman attempted to recruit Adolf into the party.
Then there was this slightly nerve-wracking subject line:
Jeremy Corbyn is delighted to have Adolf’s support, too.
Sadiq Khan thinks he’ll be critical in the party’s attempts to change London.
Then there’s this one, which even without the name “Adolf” would surely be one of the worst emails ever sent.
“At a crossroads”? Oh, bugger off.
At time of writing, the Labour party has been emailing Adolf Elledge for nearly a year, and the spam is still coming.
@JonnElledge I have great confidence in the verification process to weed out Tories who have signed up as supporters
— Conor Pope (@Conorpope) June 18, 2015