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Labour’s political broadcast for the European elections did not mention the European Union once. Labour continues this inapposite trend by not mentioning local councils at all in their local election broadcast. Instead, it mimics 1957 science fiction classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, entitled ‘The Un-credible Shrinking Man’.
(Video: Labour Party)
The black-and-white broadcast begins in the Cabinet room, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg sits down for his first meeting. The Conservatives discuss helping their friends who are down to their “last two yachts”, whilst Mr Clegg gets smaller and smaller, literally shrinking before David Cameron. The film closes with a pot-sized Nick Clegg, naked apart from a Liberal Democrat rosette, being chased by a cat.
We should congratulate Labour for making something worse than The Phantom Menace. To say it was excruciating to watch would raise that phrase to a level of meek mildness. To say it was infantile would confer notions of dignity and respectability onto this sniggering playground politics. To say it was dishonest would offend the honour of thieves.
The Conservative Cabinet is shown as a demonic fellowship. When the Clegg character highlights disabled peoples’ concerns surrounding housing benefit changes, usually called the ‘Bedroom Tax’, one minister responds: “Who cares? They can’t fight back.” The rest of the Cabinet concurs and nods. The film’s Cabinet cheers on a tax cut “for millionaires”, but the Treasury estimates the coalition government’s overall tax reforms means the top decile are the only one to suffer a tax increase, in both cash and percentage terms. The Cameron character sneers that the government “should allow energy companies to raise their prices”, which is a disturbing view of private companies in a liberal democracy.
Nick Clegg is portrayed as a man who will alleviate his principles for the sake of a “choccy biccy” at the Cabinet table. It is the essential nature of coalition governments that all participating parties cannot enact all of their policies. About 75% of the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitments went into the coalition government’s programme. If there is a hung parliament in 2015, it will be a grotesque spectacle to see Labour negotiate with Nick Clegg’s party, who they have viciously attacked for daring to be in a coalition.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander says this local election broadcast is “a bit of fun”, because it’s “a bit of fun” to smear your opponents, lower debate and insult the electorate.