Labourites are very pleased with their latest party election broadcast, featuring the ‘un-credible shrinking man’, Nick Clegg, growing smaller and smaller at the Cabinet table as the Tories around him hatch various evil plans to ruin poor people’s lives through the bedroom tax, cuts to the NHS and tuition fees.
If you are already inclined to think the Tories are evil and Nick Clegg a bit of a weakling, you’ll enjoy this video. Which suggests that Labour is entirely playing to its base here. It’s not even Ed Miliband’s cost-of-living crisis pitch to hardworking families up and down the country who are a bit cheesed off that their lives don’t feel any better now than they did in 2010. It’s natural Labour supporters who do suspect that the Tories rub their hands together with glee and talk about disabled people being unable to fight back against cuts to their benefits and treat everyone around them like Eton fags. It’s a video to confirm suspicions, not win converts.
It tells us nothing at all about Labour, not even that the party has pledged that tuition fees will be £6,000 a year – higher than the £3,000 that it introduced when in government. The party uses tuition fees in this video not so that it can talk about its own shiny policy, but as a device for reminding voters that you can never trust the Lib Dems when they make promises. It’s like a video version of Harriet Harman’s habitual volleys across the Commons about broken Lib Dem promises.
The video also undermines that wonderfully noble New Politics claim that the party made recently that it isn’t interested in class war. This video is a textbook in how to wage class war with wit and panache.
This is wonderfully effective if you’re after your base, if you’re relying on a 35 per cent strategy. But there’s no reason here to feel excited about voting Labour, just exercised about how much you hate the Tories if you already think they’re a bunch of evil men.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.