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Labour broadcast conjures spirit of the Ordinary Joe

Having looked at the Green broadcast the other day it’s now time to examine the way Labour using film to campaign, because it’s fascinating;

Once again we have an over-all well put together broadcast with a few random rough edges thrown into the mix. In this case the rough edges are in the form of Ed Miliband, but I suppose they couldn’t tell him he couldn’t take part. Actually I’m being unfair, because it’s fun.

The actual problem with Ed’s bit is the bizarre way it’s shot. While a few jump cuts and odd angles can create energy it’s so heavily ladled on that you just start thinking Ed could see the camera and kept talking to the hat stand, particularly when he started talking about those who “tend to the sick”, a little messianic perhaps?

 

The politics

Regardless, this is a very clever broadcast designed to hit all the right emotional buttons without creating any hostages to fortune. As such it’s almost identical in style to last year’s London Assembly broadcast, except replace Ken’s slot with Ed’s.

Lots of people at work, at home, in the shops, being ordinary. They are just like you, there are lots of them, all with the same aspiration to live under a government that recognises that they exist. Labour recognises you exist because there you are, in their broadcast, grumbling about the mansion tax, worrying about your future, just like Labour does.

It’s a broadcast that understands that the medium is the message, although it’s slightly spoiled by having a politician come in at the end to lecture us. Overall there is a real power in saying “we think this election is about you, not us” and there is no less powerful way of doing that than having an important person tell you about their policies.

 

Policies?

The substantive policy is pretty thin. That’s obviously not just a problem with the broadcast, it’s also Labour’s strategy to keep everything policy light. here they try to turn that weakness into a strength with an emotional appeal for “One Nation” which is not mentioned but runs like a thread through the piece. On the whole I suspect that will work.

Policies: Tax credits. A “jobs guarantee”. Top rate of tax. And taking on the train and energy companies who are “ripping you off”. While I want someone to take them on, it is pretty woolly compared to taking them back into public ownership. Labour aren’t going to start setting fare caps or bringing down energy prices when they presided over both of these things rocketing, they just want to say they understand.

The only hint on benefit reform, for example, is an aside about the responsibility to work, so no promises to repeal the bedroom tax or benefit cap – which is just as well because Labour is highly unlikely to. The NHS, war, PFI, or housing don’t get a mention as far as I can see – at least in terms of actual promises to do anything.

They want “a recovery made by the many” but not necessarily for the many. Their vox pops say “We know we’re not the most powerful” and they know that’s not going to change under Labour, but perhaps Ed will at least sympathise with their plight.

Very clever.

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