Another election, another chance for politicians, wannabe politicians and the keyboard warriors doing the dirty work to paint everyone with broad brush strokes in a bid to get votes.
As a northern newspaper editor, naturally cynical and often on the receiving end of many an assumption, I have the chance to see the worst of this perhaps as I’m privy to the press releases, the endless campaigning and see the pettiness of Facebook and Twitter every day.
It’s like that person who gets bitter when they don’t get instant endorsement for a personal view on social media (we all have that one friend) but on a mass scale.
Then there are the ill-conceived attempts to get favourable publicity from often London-based PR offices.
Yes, we are northern and proud.
Yes, we’d like to eat, work, have a decent NHS, a working train and a say.
Not much to ask really.
But no, we don’t all have a whippet ,a flat cap or only eat pie - the stereotypes are as twee as the electioneering tactics.
Every election we see the generic target groups creep in.
This time men from neighbouring Cumbria have been identified by a ‘Think Tank’ as a key target - or more specifically those ‘Workington men’ labelled as older, white, non-graduates with an interest in rugby league.
Oh and they usually vote Labour.
Not sure if the men need to be called Steve or Dave or Ian but I would get those ‘No cold-caller’ signs up ASAP if so.
The women don’t seem to come into it - even if they DO like rugby.
Previous elections have seen the stereotypes range from ‘Mondeo man’ to the school-run mum ‘Worcester woman and the allegedly free-spending ‘Bacardi Breezer’ generation. (How rude - I much preferred a blackcurrant-flavoured Hooch).
It all harks back to the 70s when ‘Essex man’ famously switched allegiance from Tory to Labour.
But in a world where every single person has access to the entire planet via the internet and people are more information-rich and savvy than ever before, it strikes me that the time for clichés and condescension is well and truly over.