Coffee House

Labour aims squarely for its base with witty class war broadcast

7 May 2014

2:38 PM

7 May 2014

2:38 PM

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.

Show comments
  • StephiC

    I’ll admitt I had a good chuckle but I can’t beleive this is tax-payer subsidised. It’s also awful considering the PM had a disabled child looked after by the NHS. I guess that video contained everything I need to know about labours european and general election plans….

  • timinsingapore

    I thought it was pretty weak, even by the standards of TV ‘satire’. Patronises the viewers, at least those older than fifteen.

  • Nkaplan

    Well I’m about as likely to vote Labour as Mrs T (and she couldn’t vote for them even if she wanted to anymore…) but I found this ad quite amusing, crass and unpersuasive, but amusing still the same.

  • Chingford Man

    I detest Clegg so I did find it amusing enough, with a couple of LOL lines. I like the thought of him being chased by an enormous cat in the style of The Goodies. But no mention of Europe of course.

  • Stuart Smith

    This was meant to be an election broadcast for the European Elections. It seems Labour have followed the SNP by failing to mention Europe once. I wonder about the Election Commissions view of this broadcast. If you want to get people interested in Europe you have to tell them what your policies on Europe. Complete fail by Labour. And a complete fail by Ms Hardman to mention this aspect too.

  • foxoles

    ‘But there’s no reason here to feel excited about voting Labour, just exercised about how much you hate the Tories …’

    Hate not Hope.

  • vfr100

    That party political broadcast was the worst I have ever seen and bares to the world just how Milliband and Labour think – they are promoting class war and attacking success.
    I live in the north in Labour heartlands, but I’m afraid their negative and anachronistic approach puts me off their party. Appalling.

  • saffrin

    Labour, the single policy party that doesn’t change.
    Promote hate at any cost.

  • wycombewanderer

    Pretty uninspiring stuff from the party of millionaires and seekers of inherited power privilege and wealth.

    Mr Axelrod has failed miserably here.

    How can he put Hattie’3000 acres’ Harman in front of a genuine interviewer and not have her publically slaughtered.

    Likewise, Masters Straw,Kinnock,Benn,Blair,Presscott, Dromey et al , all seeking the inherited safe seats of their parents?

    Millionaires such as Hodge the Dodge the richest parliamentarian,Chuka trust fund’ Umuna, Millionaires such as Balls,CooperMiliband all of them utter hypocrits can now be outed for what they are.

    Even McLuskey is a the same a millionaire hypocrit getting rich on the back of this supposed ‘class war’.

  • gerronwithit

    Isabel, you really must recalibrate your wit register, it has failed you badly here.

  • Des Demona

    ”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.”
    My thoughts entirely. What a wasted opportunity.

  • Jimble

    Isabel – you forgot to add that it will be hated by anyone without Labour leanings.

    People – this is the opening salvo of the Labour election campaign. Campaigns are fought on pointing out what you deem to be the negatives of others policies and the positives of your own. This follows the advertising bible of reinforcing your messaging – and Labour’s is clearly LibDems can’t be trusted and same old Tories. Expect them to build on this in the knowledge that Lynton will be making this the dirtiest campaign witnessed on these fair shores of ours.

  • Conway

    This video is a textbook in how to wage class war with wit and panache.” Because waging the class war worked so well in Crewe and Alsager, didn’t it?

  • con

    “This video is a textbook in how to wage class war with wit and panache.”

    wit and panache? really? i thought it looked like a video put together by a bunch of lefty students. i thought it was embarrassingly awful even allowing for the fact i’m not in their target audience.
    i can’t see this throwback to the 1950’s appealing to mondeo man.

    • Conway

      Was it in English (I couldn’t bring myself to watch it)? If so, Labour’s imported client state probably wouldn’t understand it.

  • William Battersby

    If that’s ‘witty’ then I’m the second Oscar Wilde

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Mention the EU at all, in the EU elections? Plans, policies, positions for the European parliament? Is the spectator covering that in an adult manner?


  • CharlietheChump

    Not really worth mentioning then . . .

  • Mr Creosote

    If you listen very carefully they even managed to squeeze in a hunting reference – how utterly predictable.
    Isabel, you seem to have a very low threshold on the “witty” scale, but I’m sure Ms. Harperson will join you in a girlie chuckle.

  • Kaine

    Where’s Mr Cholmondeley-Warner?

    • Mr Creosote

      He had more sense than to take part in this tosh.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Is this going to be another Labour party broadcast billed as being for the elections to the EU Parliament, which like the last one I saw never even mentions the EU?

    Apart from being an infantile waste of a broadcast paid for by the taxpayers among those “hard working families”, which by insulting the intelligence of the electorate will probably lose Labour votes overall even if it persuades a few more of the remaining LIbDem supporters to switch to supporting Labour.

  • Jock

    Witty? Half-witty, more like. Who is advising Ed?

  • RavenRandom

    So much for one nation Labour. Miliband is turning out to be unpleasant and divisive, as though been elected by just 35% of the population is a good thing.

  • Rex Hale

    Wit and panache? Have you taken leave of your senses, Isabel?

  • Tony_E

    Pretty tasteless rubbish, but about par for the course.

    Labour know exactly what they need to achieve – simply they need to get their core vote out. 35% is more than enough on the current boundaries to see them home. Once they are in, they can do what they did before – buy votes to spread their core voter base.

  • tastemylogos

    eeeugh. Do Labour offer anything to anyone beyond envy, hatred and bile? Is it any wonder why nobody I know in Toxteth will be voting or them? We resent them and we resent them because the Posh boys and girls of Labour forgot the labour man and woman. Sooner the posh boys and girls (Balls, Cooper, Milibellend, Harmen, Berger, Alexander and co) posing as ‘in touch’ with us (like the charlatans that they are) are hung out to dry, the better.

    • George McCarthy

      Totally agree, they seem to think their ‘electorate’ are thick, uneducated and don’t understand what’s happening in the world and need it to be drawn, like a childs story book or perhaps a copy of Nuts. (It is a load of Bollox) The biggest threat to the working man, the EU and the TTIP, yet they wont address either? Not even a policy to chew over?

      • Fergus Pickering

        But surely it is true. I mean that most of the electorate are thick, uneducated and don’t understand what is happening in the world. Not thee and me of course.

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    “Wit, panache, wonderfully effective”? Err no Ms Hardman try crass, crude, and cliched, a puerile parody of a political class that includes Labour’s very own Harman and Balls. But never mind the freshers will probably guffaw.

    • The Masked Marvel

      Which is why the BBC will lap it up.

    • dalai guevara

      Now there, the detail of this production is immaculate, the hair amazing, the smoking chimneys in the closing shot marvellously reminiscent of splendid pre-Thatcherite times.

    • sarah_13

      It is very depressing. It does appear the labour party is run by one dimensional 21 year olds who think they are very very clever. Never having known real hardship they impute quite nonsensical motives on an imaginary “class” of people. The whole thing is quite pathetic and condescending, the work of fantasists.

  • Colin

    This is so utterly rubbish, on all levels. It looks like a piece of half finished course work for a Media Studies GCSE, at one of Labour’s bog standard Comprehensives.

    In all seriousness, did they get an intern to knock this up?

    • monty61

      Well I laughed. Clegg was about right. Though Cameron came off as far too decisive ….

  • Colin

    Auto censorship?