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“Things can’t go on like this” is the underlying message of Labour’s messaging.
There are only ever three messages at election time. If things are going well, the government runs on “Life’s better under [insert party name here] don’t let [the Opposition ruin it]”, and if things are going badly, they run on “[The Opposition] is a change you can’t afford”. One reason why politics is easier for governments than oppositions is that the Opposition only ever has one message: “time for a change”.
Labour’s new party political broadcast, which aired tonight on ITV, is in many ways a fairly typical entry in the “time for a change” genre. There, are, however, some distinctive twists.
As the party did with its last party political broadcast, Labour is using a documentary-style format, with the personal stories of ten ordinary people, in their own words, and the consequences of the cuts. rather than a focus on the party’s Shadow Cabinet spokespeople or even particularly Corbyn himself. (The Labour leader is mentioned at the end but does not appear on screen himself.)
The film is one of a series of films that will air between now and the local elections, all directed by Josh Cole, who was also behind Labour’s “Somewhere Only We Know” video which aired the night before the election, and all using the same documentary format.
The previous broadcast focused on frontline workers in the NHS, generally seen as the most comfortable of Labour territory. Crucially, however, the video was intended to signal a breach not only with the Conservatives but Labour’s recent past, with the implicit message that frontline workers are those best equipped to run and direct the NHS. The second film moves to ground that has usually been less hospitable to Labour: that of crime and policing.
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