Friday, April 13, 2007

Calm Down Dear, It’s Only A Party Election Broadcast

At this stage it’s only fair to warn regular readers that I am now working in the Welsh Assembly election campaign, and some of you may find the following images disturbing… Specifically, I’m using the LDYS Target Seat Scheme to help former LDYS Chair Alison Goldsworthy in Cardiff West, a seat currently held by some obscure Labour AM called Rhodri Morgan or some such…

Anyway, while I’m here I thought I should at least provide something of a service for those Englishmen (and yes, I have checked, it is plural) who may be interested by events west of Offa’s Dyke. Our first point of call, as they’ve just finished the first round of them, is the party election broadcasts, which as ever provide an intriguing view of the mindsets of those involved.

  • Labour – Sioned goes to primary school (this has little to do with anything, but it’s the only factually accurate element of the entire piece so let’s at least recognise that it’s there) and she thinks her country’s wonderful. To prove it, she visits Swansea waterfront (redeveloped by a Lib Dem-controlled council), the National Museum in Cardiff (free admission pushed through by Culture Minister and Lib Dem Cardiff Central AM, Jenny Randerson), the Wales Millennium Centre (again, pushed through by Jenny Randerson) and finally the Senedd itself, where she gets to sit at a big table with Rhodri Morgan (who opposed the Senedd’s construction). The message is clear, however; “You’re Welsh, you’ll vote Labour!”
  • Plaid – The man from London is down in Cardiff meeting with senior policy officials of what we shall call an “unnamed party”. Played by a scary voice actor in the Joss Ackland mould, the man from Lab… from the “unnamed party”, rather, is dismayed to find that all the good ideas in Wales (or at the very least two of the ones they can claim to have had) come from Plaid. He leaves telling them they should fight on the basis that “Whitehall knows what’s best for Wales”. In other news, subtlety has died; it was 94.
  • Tories – A victory for voice-over man here, as for two-and-a-half minutes a mixture of idyllic landscapes and vox pops about how awful things are dominate proceedings. Only at the end do we discover why; namely that the Welsh Tory leadership are exploring bold new frontiers in political obscurity. Meanwhile, we are left in no doubt that the Tories are “listening”, or in other words, “this Manifesto is a work of fiction, and any resemblance with persons past or present is entirely coincidental”…
  • Lib Dems – Voice-over woman takes charge now, giving a matronly tone to the proceedings. There’s lots of policy on display, and just to reinforce the message you get a real… actor doing a supposed vox pop in an oversized photographer’s studio. It’s the only one of the four to have any sort of policy, but it wastes time with the vox pops and is still using the music and logo design from time immemorial.

It’s a difficult round to judge, in that there’s no sense of internecine warfare yet and each party’s aims are very different at this stage. The only truly embarrassing broadcast is Labour’s, but given that the level of media analysis is no higher in the Butetown Village than the Westminster version, no-one will have noticed.

Still, next week should be more interesting; under Assembly election rules, any party with candidates in all five regional lists gets a PEB, and that means the Communists are getting one…

No comments: