The United Kingdom’s next elections will be held on May 7. Most of us outside the UK don’t see their campaign messaging, so I thought I’d share a few of the UK Labour Party’s ad messages. The ad above was their party political broadcast at the end of March. The YouTube description says:
“Martin Freeman explains how this election is a choice between two completely different sets of values. Labour believes in community, compassion and fairness. That’s why we will build an economy that works for everyone. The Tories have cut taxes for millionaires and only work for people at the top. A Labour government led by Ed Miliband will protect the NHS, create opportunities for young people, raise the minimum wage and ban exploitative zero-hours contracts.”The next video, from a few days later, is called “Could you live on a zero-hours contract?” I chose it because here in New Zealand, we’re fighting our version of the Tories, the National Party, on this very issue. Zero Hour Contracts are employment contracts in which the worker has no guaranteed hours (“zero hours”), but is expected to be available for work at any time. In NZ, and I think in the UK as well, a worker who is not available on demand could be fired. The YouTube description says:
David Cameron says he couldn't live on one, so why should other people? The next Labour government will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts for employees who are working regular hours. This new legal right to a regular contract will apply to workers after just 12 weeks.
Two things about this issue: NZ’s Tories have said the same rubbish, about workers “choosing” such contracts, but, due to mounting public pressure and resurgent unionising, they’re talking about banning them. I’ll believe it when I see it! Also, all NZ workers get a contract before they start work, though for some they may start out on a lower wage—that’s an entirely different issue, and one for another time.
The next video, “Five times an IOU is unacceptable” is about one of UK Labour’s main issues: Saving the National Health Service (NHS). This is a hot political issue in the UK, with the NHS having been under constant cuts and assault by the Tories.
Speaking of saving the NHS, the next video, “A decent society looks after its people” features comedian Jo Brand talking about saving the NHS. This video also talks about “Labour’s better plan for working families.”
And finally, “Look at what David Cameron has done in five years...”, a pointed message directed at Cameron. There’s a reference at the end to Cameron refusing to show up for a televised debate, something that’s been roundly criticised. It was posted today, and specifically asks people to share it.
Obviously, I find campaign messaging very interesting, and I’m fascinated to see what campaigns in other countries do. There are a lot more videos on the UK Labour Party’s YouTube Channel; I just picked a few that I thought reflected some of the variety, as well as the issues in the UK election. I have no idea which, if any, of the videos (apart from the first one, up top) were broadcast on television, but I’d guess that most weren’t, since that’s what most modern political parties in Western democracies do now: Produce many messages, some of which are specifically for social media sharing.
The UK Labour Party’s videos are quite different from what the NZ Labour Party (or the NZ National Party, for that matter) tends to do. Some of that is no doubt cultural (we’re a very different country from the UK, despite sharing a head of state), and some of it is different flavours of social democratic parties.
I make no pretence of being impartial here: If I were a UK citizen, I would be voting Labour. That’s hardly a surprise, of course, but I really do think that UK Labour has “A better plan” for “a better future” for the UK. Their manifesto is available on their website, or watch Labour Leader Ed Miliband launch it in a 23:43 video.
Election campaigns fascinate me. Obviously.