This is the new party political broadcast from the Labour Party, named ‘The Un-credible Shrinking Man’.
The black and white video filmed in the style of a Harry Enfield Cholmondley Warner sketch, mocks Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and pokes fun at the way he is downtrodden in the Cabinet by David Cameron.
The video highlights the broken promises made by Clegg in the last election, such as the tuition fees debacle, with Clegg shrinking as Cameron introduces bedroom tax, and tax cuts for millionaires.
As well as ridiculing Clegg, I think the video does a fairly good job at representing the Conservatives as a party only for the wealthy, who do not consider the interests of the poor or marginalised.
One Cabinet member states “in these times of austerity I think we should spare a thought for the wealthy”, and another chipping in with “I have a friend who is down to his last two yachts”, and “haven’t our brave bankers suffered enough?”
When Cameron announces “Right, bedroom tax”, Clegg states “hmm…isn’t it going to look bad that two thirds of those affected are disabled?” With a Cabinet member replying “who cares, they can’t fight back”.
Whilst the big problem is that this political broadcast does not state any of Labour’s policies, I think it is effective in showing Nick Clegg and the Conservatives up, and highlighting the worst aspects of their time in government, particularly for students, those on low incomes, and disabled people.
In addition, the humour and satire used could be a good angle, with the potential to engage younger voters and reach a wider demographic, which could only be a positive thing.
In response to Labour’s broadcast, the Liberal Democrats retaliated, with Ed Miliband as ‘The Incredible Silent Man’, showing television pictures of him saying nothing:
The video finishes with a picture of Nick Clegg, with the caption “Only one leader is standing up to UKIP, Stand with us”.
With videos such as these, politics has become extremely personalised, with the danger of voters basing their decisions on videos such as these, rather than actually considering each party’s policies. Labour have stated that they will overturn the bedroom tax, freeze energy bills, expand free childcare, build more homes, end zero-hour contracts, and tackle the cost of living crisis.
Whilst there is no guarantee that Labour will have the power to do all of these things if they are elected, at least they have acknowledged that there IS a cost of living crisis, a housing crisis, and an energy crisis, unlike the Conservatives, who when giving The Budget, stated that income inequality is at its lowest for 28 years, which was very clearly a lie.
If Labour has any chance of winning, they must be clearer about their policies, rather than simply attacking the other parties. Whilst this tactic can be effective in showing the Conservatives up as the ‘nasty party’, as with their video, this must be combined with more substance, clear policy proposals, and greater conviction from Ed Miliband.