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Not the best telly I’ve seen this week

It must be because of the forthcoming May local elections, but twice this week I’ve had the television on in the background tuned to the BBC News at Six, following by the local BBC London News, and consequently at 6.55pm, completely by chance, have caught the latest Tory and Labour party political broadcasts.

They were both stereotypical examples of the gulf between the parties and neither impressed me much. It seemed to me that both were attempting little more than preaching to the converted. I say that because I cannot see how either broadcast would have persuaded anyone of a different starting political viewpoint to switch teams.

First, the Tory one.

May2Plainly their HQ strategy/policy wonks had decided that the Tories’ best attack-approach is to exploit the contrast highlighted in the verdict of recent opinion polls that the Prime Minister is nearly twenty points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn in the ‘leadership quality’ stakes.

Thus, with stirring vaguely-patriotic music warbling in the background, their broadcast concentrated exclusively upon Mrs May talking to someone unseen slightly off camera about what mattered to her – and therefore by implication – to the country.

This was the Prime Minister in her cod-Mrs Thatcher-standing-outside-Number-10-(St Francis of Assisi) mode just before going inside to begin running the country in 1979. Pious lecturing would just about sum it up. The vital thing, inevitably, was to keep the economy on course so that Mrs May could achieve that which was important to her, viz. a land of milk and honey, hazy summer days of warm beer and cucumber sandwiches in which every child had a right to a decent education so that in the future he or she could go as far as combined ambition and hard work would take them in the direction of personal fulfilment and financial reward.

It was classic politic-speak by the yard.

LabourTo be honest I found the Labour broadcast marginally more intriguing and interesting.

It would seem that their strategist/policy wonks had been reviewing the same opinion polls because sight or sound of Jeremy Corbyn there was none to be seen or heard.

Instead they had gone for a slick, well-made production in which – accompanied by a reassuring deep baritone male voice, more of which in a moment – a massively obese, evidently wealthy, self-satisfied, middle-aged male wrapped only in a couple of large towels slowly made his way from a sports changing room shower to don his clothes (a well-made tailored suit, expensive shirt and cuff-links etc.) with his large leather wallet and car keys waiting on the sideboard. He did this amidst a raft of team jackets hanging from every peg in the changing room with the words ‘UK Tax Dodgers’ emblazoned across the back.

The gist of aforementioned voice-over covering this scene was that the ‘equality gap’ between Britain’s rich (aided and abetted by their avaricious and uncaring Tory Party friends) and ‘the rest of us’ was growing ever greater. Whereas the Tory government had done everything in their power to enable their City pals to acquire more wealth – cut taxes for the wealthiest, effectively ordered the taxman to ease off completely in their pursuit of nefarious tax dodgers etc.) – they had also delighted in their favourite occupations, viz. driving the poor and downtrodden into ever-increasing poverty and misery and cutting public services wherever they found them, not least ‘our’ NHS.

If those watching would only vote Labour, the patter continued, ‘we’ would restore public services to ensure that every man and woman in this land of potential milk and honey was happy, healthy, solvent and treated as an equal of everyone else. In as much as this Utopia would at some point ever have to be paid for, this would come easily and exclusively via the simple act of making the wealthy ‘pay their fair share’. Furthermore, ‘we’ would introduce a proper minimum working wage of £10 per hour.


And that was about it.

Ho hum.


About Lavinia Thompson

A university lecturer for many years, both at home and abroad, Lavinia Thompson retired in 2008 and has since taken up freelance journalism. She is currently studying for a distant learning degree in geo-political science and lives in Norwich with her partner. More Posts