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(Video: Labour Party)
Martin Freeman, the actor who stars in the BBC Sherlock series and The Hobbit films, lent his support to the Labour Party in their first election broadcast. Mr Freeman proffers the choice between a Labour or Conservative government to the viewer:
It’s a choice between two completely different sets of values. A choice about what kind of country we want to live in. And I don’t know about you, but my values are about community, compassion, decency; that’s how I was brought up.
Mr Freeman finishes the broadcast:
Labour. They start from the right place community, compassion, fairness I think all the best things about this country. I love this country so much and I love the people in it, and I think you do too, but really, for me, there’s only one choice; and I choose Labour.
As Lord Danny Finklestein has expertly highlighted in his article for The Times, Labour do not have a unique claim to compassion, to community, to decency. There is not a straight and inexorable path from a person’s values to their political party, if they choose any.
Politics is more than mere intentions: politicians should be judged on their policies over their piety. A struggle for decency within the sphere of politics is strained by the monopolistic assertions of moral righteousness: the degradation of one’s opponents often occurs when a person believes they are not just discussing amicable trade-offs in public policy, but are vanquishing monsters.
David Tennant, who was formerly The Doctor in the famous science-fiction series, finishes off the broadcast. This means Labour were one Benedict Cumberbatch away from a geeky tripytch.
Rather than celebrity endorsements, the Conservative Party have chosen to highlight families within Britain. A father says:
I want him to grow up in a Britain with opportunities, where there are doors open to him, so he can get on, get a good job, and make the most of his life.
Afterwards, a vague commitment is made:
We’ll back businesses to keep creating jobs and opportunities.
The broadcast seeks to explain why economic stability and security should be considered important to young families. A young mother says: “I want him to be happy and healthy.” In bold letters above the playground:
With a strong economy, we can keep investing in the NHS.
Nearing the broadcast’s end, the Prime Minister appears with his family, saying:
Like every parent, I have hopes for my children and dreams for their future. And what I want for them, I want for every child in this country. A good education, a decent job, great public services, a home of their own, and above all, the chance to make the most out of their life.
These are admirable aspirations. The question dawns whether the public believes the Conservatives can achieve these ideals with five more years in office.
As the election draws near, many more party election broadcasts will be shown. With the advent of social media, a party can far outreach its allocated slots.