Battle of the Election Videos: Lib Dems’ “Incredible Silent Man” v. “Labour’s Un-credible Shrinking Man”

So Labour’s party election broadcast then… Titled The Un-credible Shrinking Man it mocks Nick Clegg as a deluded patsy of the posho Tories. He starts off being offered a biscuit and ends up being chased across the cabinet table by a big cat. Because he’s shrunk, y’see. And naked. I’m not sure I’m doing its nuanced subtlety justice. It’s sort-of funny, at least if you enjoy laughing at one-dimensional caricatures which fit your pre-existing bias – a bit like a sketch for Radio 4’s The Now Show. You can watch it for yourselves here.

Kudos to the Lib Dem team at Great George Street who immediately re-packaged the party’s own video The Incredible Silent Man chiding Labour leader Ed Miliband’s reluctance to take the fight to Ukip or make the case for Europe:

Labour’s video has certainly got noticed, a rare enough feat for a party election broadcast. Remarkably it’s even driven Dan Hodges, the Telegraph’s uber-Blairite New Labour-lover, into the arms of Nick Clegg:

I’ve decided to vote for Nick Clegg. The Lib Dem leader is the only one to have the courage to take a stand against Ukip from the beginning. Yes, there’s obviously an element of political calculation behind his decision. He knows it’s good for the Lib Dem base – what’s left of it – to see him taking the fight to the anti-European Right. But moments when doing what’s right and what’s politically expedient at the same time don’t come along that often in politics. And when they do they do, those that engineered them deserve to be rewarded.

Clegg is also the only political leader who has actually been making these European elections about Europe. Farage has turned them into a referendum on immigration. Cameron has tried to turn them into an advert for the recovering economy. Miliband has tried to use them as a full-scale drill for the general election in 2015

What’s more, Clegg hasn’t just talked about Europe, he’s made the case for Europe. I’d have preferred it if he’d come up with slightly catchier sound-bite than “we’re the party of In”. And the pro-Europe camp is definitely going to have to come up with something catchier before the referendum in 2017. But it’ll do for now. And whatever mistakes the Lib Dem leader has made in the past – and I’ve unsparingly chronicled most of them – he’s the only politician to engage with the voters over Europe maturely and honestly during this campaign.

Nick Clegg has taken a stand. He deserves to have people standing with him.

I doubt many people will be repelled by it to the extent Dan, ever the contrarian, is. It’s a video squarely aimed at shoring up its core vote in advance of a two sets of low turn-out elections. People who think the Tories are poor-hating, disabled-despising, braying monsters and who think the Lib Dems have betrayed every principle they’ve ever held in return for a biscuit may well like it. Those people are already likely to vote Labour, but may well not bother doing so on 22nd May. This video’s intended to tickle them out of their chairs. Maybe it’ll work, at least insofar as any party election broadcast can be said to work, by achieving this outcome. I assume Labour market-tested it with voters to check it would deliver against that modest, limited aim (didn’t they?).

I doubt you’ll see this tactic repeated ahead of next May’s general election. Then, voter turnout will be higher. Labour will need to coax, appeal and persuade it can be a better government, rather than rely on taunting, deriding and insulting its opponents. By then, this video will have been forgotten… though probably not by Lib Dems or Nick Clegg.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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57 Comments

  • Richard Dean 8th May '14 - 5:06pm

    Points for trying, not for succeeding. All Ed needs to do to discredit this film is speak, and he does it often, and is even quite effective at PMQs.

    What about the Incredible Confused Man? Or the Incredibly Confusing Man? Lots of evidence for that! Or get Wallace and Grommitt creators to do Ed as a contortionist … voiceover … this policy, no that policy ….? Could be actually hilarious!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th May '14 - 5:09pm

    For me, the Labour video is sad to see because it means that they are actually reverting to type. Way back in 1995, I was horrified to find 3 of my friends vilified as the 3 little pigs on a Labour leaflet. It’s puerile, nasty stuff.

    You might have thought that the idea of facing someone round a negotiating table around a year from now might just have upped the standard of debate. If they are going for a core votes strategy next year, which is remarkably unambitious of them, it makes the prospect of those negotiations much more likely.

  • Jayne Mansfield 8th May '14 - 5:18pm

    What I want from a political party is a set of policies that I can support because I believe that they will lead to greater fairness and social justice.

    In my opinion, the broadcast was a serious misjudgment by the Labour Party.

  • Charles Rothwell 8th May '14 - 5:31pm

    “I agree with Dan!” Clegg’s original broadcast on “The party of IN” is what brought me back into the fold again (after being driven away by the tuition fees disaster (Clegg’s own Iraq War in terms of reputation, I am afraid)) as I was sick and tired of seeing yet another Tory Leader “doing a Major” and being crucified trying to keep his party together over Europe (something Cameron categorically said he would not “bang on about” in his huskies and home wind turbine days!) On the Labour side, while Milliband did make one good pro-European speech after Cameron made the announcement about his “In/out (shake it all about first) referendum”, since then (as the video shows up) the silence has been deafening (even though Farage is convinced that the old, male, white, semi-/unskilled Old Labour vote is just waiting to fall into the lap of the Kippers, as the former have ‘had it up to here’ with New Labour for all kinds of reasons. The second debate with Clegg was not full of anti-‘Big Business’ tirades for nothing and Farage (and, in particular, his skinhead Bootle working class hero Deputy, Nuttall) are convinced this is where the votes will come from (after they have reached saturation point amid the blazers and retired in run-down south coast resorts) which will give them their first MPs (Grimsby being identified as the constituency most likely to fall to the Kippers in the recent academic study of them – although this analysis was probably made before the 700 new jobs to be created by Siemens which (if there are any rational voters left in Grimsby) must make a big difference, surely?

    Two other comments; I think the Labour PPB was just about the most pathetic five minutes of TV I have ever experienced. It was not so much the juvenile/infantile content as the way in which it was addressing what I took to be its target audience; not (as the above says) Labour core voters but, rather, disillusioned young ex-Lib Dem votes. I can bet the Labour spin doctors had done the demographics (young / 18-25) and had then said, “Right, condescending, patronising, brain-dead, Harry Enfield-style sketch in black and white – that should do it for these youngsters who are obviously nowhere as sophisticated as us or their elders when it comes to politics”.

    As regards “the 2017 Referendum”, I shall believe it…. Not because I believe Cameron has any option but to press on IF he is elected with a majority but because (1) I do not believe he WILL get a majority in the first place and (2) even if he did, as the ‘negotiations’ with Brussels proceeded, the splits and cracks in a Tory government (which would, of course, be totally preoccupied with this matter to the exclusion of everything else) and, even more, the Tory Party would become so huge that (as over the Corn Laws and Imperial Preference) they will just be blown apart and Cameron will become the new A. J. Balfour (although with nothing like the same future in front of him as Tory Leader as AJ had after 1906!) What has been in gestation since the day on which Thatcher made her Bruges Speech would thus finally come about.

  • daft ha'p'orth 8th May '14 - 5:35pm

    I laughed out loud. It is quite a good reflection of the events of the last few years. It says as much about the Tories as about Clegg. ‘Think like a Tory. Being in debt is an excellent incentive for a life of jolly hard work’… ‘I have a friend who’s down to his last two yachts!’ and the stuff about the NHS, too.

    In an odd sort of a way Clegg comes across as an everyman type of character. At least they have had him protesting against the Nasty Party’s proposed actions, which is really pretty kind since as I recall he wasn’t actually all that vehement about bedroom taxes. They’ve presented Clegg as having been marginalised and defanged against his own will – as though he came into the job with a silly, naive attitude and positive intentions and was tricked into failure by forces far stronger than himself. It’s one of the kinder interpretations I’ve heard.

    That said, I also laughed at ‘the hard-working people of Britain say ‘enough’ to government just for the privileged few: Labour’. At the juxtaposition of ‘privileged few’ and ‘Labour’, the words ‘champagne socialism’ sprang unbidden to mind.

  • jedibeeftrix 8th May '14 - 5:42pm

    i agree with dan hodges in that labour, with this video, demonstrate they aren’t really serious about winning the next election.

  • jedibeeftrix, awful as the video is, it’s not intended for the general election, it’s to rubbish the LD’s for the Euro election where Labour will strongly benefit under the PR system from extra former-LD votes. That’s why Hodges logic, such that he has any, is wrong.

  • Julian Dean 8th May '14 - 5:52pm

    jedibeeftrix, I really hope you are wrong, how else can all the coalition NHS policies be reversed.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 6:03pm

    @ Caron

    How is this worse than humiliating loads of local councillors who can’t hit back on the basis of Taxpayers Alliance and Daily Mail stories?

    Your own people are appalled by your local elections campaign.

  • @Julian Dean
    “jedibeeftrix, I really hope you are wrong, how else can all the coalition NHS policies be reversed.”

    They won’t have any more money to spend than the Coalition does. Just simply reversing Coalition policies isn’t going to help, is it? It will just make things even worse by wasting time and resources.

    A vote for Labour is a vote for politicians who think this video is a valid contribution to political debate in the UK. It betrays a serious lack of judgment.

  • @ Chris Manners

    “Your own people are appalled by your local elections campaign.”

    Whereas this absurd, nasty and personally directed attack with no real relevance to local election campaign is totally OK, is it?

  • Do Liberals lack a sense of humour ?

    The film is funny, a little long maybe. Perfect for the internet.
    Who would not chortle at seeing the Clegg figure naked behind his Lib Dem rosette and chased down the table by the Downing St cat.

    Suspect the mealy mouthed attitude of some is because the way it depicts Clegg hits home, and supports how many ex-Lib Dem voters see him – a much diminshed man.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 6:22pm

    “Whereas this absurd, nasty and personally directed attack with no real relevance to local election campaign is totally OK, is it?”

    In that it’s directed at someone who’s very powerful, with millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to boost himself, yes.

    The local elections stuff is pure Toby Young. Someone with a megaphone shouting at the little people, and more than likely traducing them.

  • jedibeeftrix 8th May '14 - 6:25pm

    “I really hope you are wrong, how else can all the coalition NHS policies be reversed.”

    Julian, i am not in the bait of supporting parties i oppose to win general elections, thereby giving them the power to further degrade the quality of ‘my’ life.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 6:28pm

    “A vote for Labour is a vote for politicians who think this video is a valid contribution to political debate in the UK. It betrays a serious lack of judgment.”

    Valid contribution? You sound like one of those old prog rockers or jazz cats who crop up on old BBC 4 footage saying punk isn’t a valid art form.

    Political broadcasts aren’t exactly high art, are they? Load of pseudo-talking heads telling you they’re impressed with Blair, Major, Ashdown, whoever.

    Clegg’s most famous broadcast was about making himself and his character into the political issue. Do that, and you have to expect opponents to make you into the issue as well.

  • @Chris Manners

    That people are prepared to stand up for this vindictive, personalised attack advert and say it is a worthwhile part of preparing voters to decide on serious issues at stake in the local elections says everything that needs to be said about them and the Labour party.

    It’s a silly, juvenile attack and utterly inaccurate to boot. The fact that Clegg has managed to wring such a large number of Lib Dem policies out of the Coalition despite having to sort out Labour’s massive hole in the public accounts and having only one eleventh of the MPs in the House of Commons (scant reward for the quarter of the vote we got) just shows what a false premise it is based on.

  • Mike Barnes 8th May '14 - 7:04pm

    A yougov poll puts the Lib Dems on 10% among 17-21 year old first time voters for 2015. UKIP get 10% too remarkably, but that’s irrelevant. Anyway the Lib Dems won 30% of first time voters in 2010, so it’s clear that they’ve have seriously dropped the ball with young people and and Labour are going to pound the issues of tuition fees, new politics and no more broken promises etc etc.

    The only question is why on earth they spoof a 1957 film to ‘connect with the lost youth’. I’d never even heard of the film. Labour has got the right idea, but they’re not half as clever as they think they are.

  • @ Chris Manners

    “In that it’s directed at someone who’s very powerful”

    So is he powerful, or not? You support the Labour video which says he isn’t.

    @ Sandy

    “Do Liberals lack a sense of humour ?”

    If we started making direct, inaccurate, personally denigratory attacks on the leader of the party you support, in the context of a four-year media campaign of scapegoating and vilification from powerful press barons, how would you feel?

  • I actually quite enjoyed it, despite being cast as an attack on Clegg it’s venom is much more cleverly aimed at the Tories and it was well produced and quite amusing. Having said that, I rather hope that Labour can manage more convincing output than this. It’s easy to pop at the Lib Dems, and easy to point out the horrendous holes in Coalition policy, what I want to be told about is how Labour are going to do it better. Positive politics, please.

    It’s a bit rich to howl about this whilst Clegg’s laughable Tory and Labour Waste and Incompetence pamphlet is still warm from the press. It’s not like the Lib Dems are setting a higher tone, is it?

  • The Labour video has been viewed on youtube 36,955 times so I think it’s clearly been a success & even more so when it’s still being discussed today.

    How many other PEB’s of your political opponents do you remember for more than a few hours, if that ?

    As for Dan Hodges support – well gee whizz, whatever floats your boat !

  • @Sandy

    Nope, it’s not about having a sense of humour – Paul Walter’s excellent line, “The LibDem party has given Nick Clegg much more poignant torture and rigorous scrutiny than any puerile (but admittedly artful) Labour video.”, is certainly a good example of how as a party we are capable of both being honest and self-deprecating at the same time.

    If you want to hear some people lay into Nick Clegg spend 5mins looking through the comments on here! The fine Liberal tradition of bringing the powerful down a peg or two is true for the party leadership, and long may it continue. The weird world of automatic defference is thankfully not all that common in the LibDems. Go to the thread on the most recent local election leaflet and see how mealy mouthed we are – nearly every single post is a criticism.

    The difference is this isn’t a sketch or joke on HIGNFY but an actual PEB by a party that may well be in power next year. That they spend their time coming up with something from a poor Edinburgh Fringe show rather than presenting policies is worrying. When a party, that likes to say it supports Europe, makes not one single mention of it in an European Parliament election broadcast something has gone wrong with them. If anything, it shows that Labour actually don’t have a case to make at the moment.

    “Who would not chortle at seeing the Clegg figure naked behind his Lib Dem rosette and chased down the table by the Downing St cat.”

    Me. Because it is rubbish.

  • @Jack

    “It’s a bit rich to howl about this whilst Clegg’s laughable Tory and Labour Waste and Incompetence pamphlet is still warm from the press. It’s not like the Lib Dems are setting a higher tone, is it?”

    Not rich when the same people attacked the pamphlet as well.

  • daft ha'p'orth 8th May '14 - 7:46pm

    @ATF
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the video turned out to be better-researched.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 8:26pm

    “@Chris Manners

    That people are prepared to stand up for this vindictive, personalised attack advert and say it is a worthwhile part of preparing voters to decide on serious issues at stake in the local elections says everything that needs to be said about them and the Labour party.

    It’s a silly, juvenile attack and utterly inaccurate to boot. The fact that Clegg has managed to wring such a large number of Lib Dem policies out of the Coalition despite having to sort out Labour’s massive hole in the public accounts and having only one eleventh of the MPs in the House of Commons (scant reward for the quarter of the vote we got) just shows what a false premise it is based on.”

    That’s the same massive hole in the public accounts that led to Clegg agreeing with Gordon in the election campaign?

    Clegg’s fearsome negotiating skills in important areas seems to lead to him agreeing to positions that are to the right of anything the Tories campaigned on. See health, the incomes of the poor, criminal justice, social security. Obviously anyone hammered by these policies will think they pale into insignificance when compared to an AV referendum. Clegg fights about as hard as David Brent did to keep open the Slough Branch.

    Obviously, calling Clegg the “incredible shrinking man” is totally different to calling Gordon Brown Mr Bean. Or accusing Unite of behaving like a “Monty Python parody of the Soviet Union”.

    I think it’s you that have the problem with a political broadcast “saying all you need to know” about them….

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 8:28pm

    “However, what is clear is that Labour is silent on Europe and showing no leadership in this regard.”

    I agree fully with Helen.

    Unfortunately, given that Clegg’s leadership on Europe involved being (by all accounts) hammered in a debate by Nigel Farage, perhaps we could have done without it.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 8:33pm

    “That they spend their time coming up with something from a poor Edinburgh Fringe show rather than presenting policies is worrying. ”

    Why do they have to use the PB for presenting policies, provided there is policy out there? Plenty that doesn’t go far enough for me, but there’s policy there.

    Say what you like about Blair Labour (and after) they can look at market research. Quite probably they’ve seen that people don’t pay much attention to party broadcasts at all, so have tried something a bit different.

    Not to say I’m convinced by it. Quite possibly they’d have been better not making a broadcast and donating the budget to charity.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 9:01pm

    Policy on Europe’s basically just to chug along, I think. Same as most parties policy on Europe most of the time.

    Not very exciting. It’s not a good issue for them really and they’ve basically decided to ignore it as much as possible. They even lost to Hague in 1999.

  • Chris Manners 8th May '14 - 9:02pm

    ” I simply remember soft focused PPBs of Blair”

    Don’t remind me!

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th May '14 - 1:13am

    Sandy

    The film is funny, a little long maybe. Perfect for the internet.
    Who would not chortle at seeing the Clegg figure naked behind his Lib Dem rosette and chased down the table by the Downing St cat

    But what does this have to do with the elections coming up? They are not UK Parliamentary elections, they are European Parliamentary elections and local government elections. Perhaps if Clegg and the Cleggies hadn’t tried to turn the party into a Clegg Party, so for example its local government campaign is led by a pamphlet presented by Clegg and with no local government figures named, thee attacks would not work so well.

    It is insulting to the people of this country, who I think deserve a proper explanation of the policies and ideas on offer, not silly personal attacks which entirely miss what these elections are about. Clever-clever PR people tell us this won’t work, that the plebs need silly stuff to catch their intention. Well, that shows us the contempt that PR people have for ordinary people. It is possible to get the attention of ordinary people and talk in a serious way, perhaps if there were more ordinary people involved in this sort of top level campaigning, rather than PR people from posh backgrounds, that might happen.

    So, hear I am ranting and raving against Clegg elsewhere and about the rightward drift of our party, finding much of what this coalition is doing disgusting, a prime target for Labour, surely. But this video sends me running back to the LibDems, and I mean it – I was contemplating spoiling my paper, but now after this I’ll be putting my X against the Liberal Democrats. This sort of RUBBISH from Labour is just what keeps me in the Liberal Democrats. We need a serious debate on coalition in this country, one which accepts that it involves compromise, and addresses it in terms of how the country is to be governed with a sense of realism. Quite obviously the Liberal Democrat cannot, and should not, force all their policies in this government, given that the people of this country did vote more for the Conservatives than the Liberal Democrats. Labour support the distorting electoral system which twisted the Conservative representation up and the Liberal Democrat representation down, and in most circumstances would give the Conservatives if they are the largest party complete control of government, even if they are way below 50% in electoral support. So it is Labour who in supporting distortional representation who are the deeper and more long-term proppers up of the Tories. If only we had a leader who could get this message across.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th May '14 - 8:59am

    @ RC,
    I think you are so wrong. Not about the video which I think was a missed opportunity to give us hope that some of the policies like what has happened to the NHS, can be reversed .

    The complaint that there was no money doesn’t hold water as far as I am concerned when billions have been spent on a top down reorganisation of the NHS that we promised would not happen, for reasons that I can only believe have been introduced because of Tory ideology. Where is the proof that competition and privatisation save money, Here’s a clue don’t look at America.

    If getting people talking about the video whether it be the quality or the message is deemed a success, it has in those terms been a success. If it has been to get people angry with the Liberal Democrat leadership, it has preached to the converted. People like myself were already angry at what the Liberal leadership has enabled the conservative party to do. The constant refrain of how much the Liberal Democrats have achieved just makes me angrier.

    What a pity the Labour party didn’t set out what it intends to do to placate and attract the ‘Angry Brigade ‘ like myself.

  • Can anyone explain to me how this Lab strategy of attacking NC will help them if, as the polls suggest ,the Lab lead continues to diminish or even disappears before 2015.?I live in an LD Constituency should enough of our 2010 voters desert us and vote Lab the only possible outcome here is a tory gain.

  • Peter Watson 9th May '14 - 10:20am

    @Dean.W. “Can anyone explain to me how this Lab strategy of attacking NC will help them if, as the polls suggest ,the Lab lead continues to diminish or even disappears before 2015.?”
    Labour’s strategy requires them to hold on to Lib Dems who defected after 2010, so banging on about Clegg is probably a sensible approach since he remains toxic to a lot of that constituency.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th May '14 - 10:26am

    @ Dean.W.
    I have friends still living in Nick Clegg’s constituency and I am afraid to say that they think that it is a case of ‘Vote Clegg get tory” anyway..

    Personally, I would be very sorry if Hallam returned to the tories but it was a big student vote that helped get Nick Clegg elected. I don’t suppose they remember the last tory incumbent and his record.

  • Paul In Twickenham 9th May '14 - 10:32am

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/10818600/Labour-attacked-over-election-peas-in-a-pod-poster-blunder.html

    And so it continues… more ludicrous playing with numbers from Labour. As noted several years(!) ago on fullfact.org, a figure of £450 could only apply to the top one or two income deciles because that increase would require an annual spend of £18K on 20% VAT rated items.

    So appplying the logic I see all around Labour’s “campaign”, I conclude that Labour think that only the top 20% of earners are hard-working (hey, the poster talks about “Hardworking Britain”) and that the bottom 80% are workshy scroungers.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 9th May '14 - 10:33am

    All Party political broadcasts are propaganda. The quintessence of propaganda is simplification. The Incredible Shrinking Man only confirms humorously, how Clegg is perceived by most people in the country: as a totally diminished figure manipulated by a government of the toffs for the toffs. The really astonishing thing is that so many Lib Dems don’t seem to appreciate this and it has taken them completely by surprise. Must be good propaganda then. As for Labour not being serious about winning the next General Election don’t you believe it. Those who want to save the NHS from privatisation, the poor from the Bedroom Tax, and the country from heartless neo-liberalism are depending on us. We are well organised and determined not to let them down. Dan Hodges is not in the Labour Party, so what does he know?

  • @Peter and Jayne – thanks for your replies .I understand the points you raise.However I don’t see why the strategy of squeezing the LD as much as possible,wont potentially have the effect of turning a substantial number of yellow seats blue.Could well make all the difference in what might well be a tight result.

  • Peter Watson 9th May '14 - 11:27am

    @Dean.W. “However I don’t see why the strategy of squeezing the LD as much as possible,wont potentially have the effect of turning a substantial number of yellow seats blue.Could well make all the difference in what might well be a tight result.”
    Indeed. While Labour’s national strategy will be to retain Lib Dem defectors, I’m sure that at a local level they will choose not to invest resources in Lib Dem – tory marginals where they would rather see a Yellow victory than a Blue. Though if they perceive that the difference between Yellow and Blue is less than a “cigarette paper”, then that might be motivated more by the arithmetic of MP’s after the election rather than because they feel closer to the Lib Dems. And it could all get more complicated if the presence of UKIP combined with a collapse in the Lib Dem vote might turn two-way marginals into 4-way fights.

  • My opinion after watching… the Lab video
    It made me smile at first, but beyond the caricatures was the underlying message…

    Caricatures… not the real images, the problem now is when the posters and videos of the party MPs including Mr Clegg circa 2010 hit the media it will hurt even more, and the party response after allegedly purporting to be grown ups, is well, quite sad to be honest. (Not even a good effort TBH)

    I do think the next 12 months are going to be very hard on the party, and as for yellow seats going blue, I really don’t think Labour see any difference, I also suspect the voters feel the same way except the core 6%-7% LD, the party need to expect all the 2010 election promises to be thrown in the face of the party as 2015 election propaganda.

    The party need to have the response to these already in hand, this LD video response shows they do not, I fear the worst.
    The 2015 election season has started, because the results of 2014 elections will set the tone if the losses continue 2014, i don’t think praying will help come 2015.

    jim

  • @Peter Watson – Thanks .Be interesting to see what strategy emerges at national level if blues take a lead in the Polls.

    @Jim – ” as for yellow seats going blue, I really don’t think Labour see any difference,”I think you’ll find despite all the propaganda to the contrary that Lab will quickly develop a preference if they feel the Polls aren’t running their way.

  • You can have a video deriding Milliband while complaining about theirs? Should you have set an example and not retaliated in kind.

  • @Anne – Indeed… I think this is one of the better ripostes… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-mUomPzpfo

  • Is there something we’re missing? Do Labour and the Lib Dems want to give the Tories a majority?

  • Chris Manners 9th May '14 - 5:17pm

    @Matthew,

    Really, deciding your vote on this broadcast?

    I won’t take you at your word there. I think you’re voting for the Lib Dems because they’re your party, I don’t deprecate that, it’s what most of us do, most notably Labour voters in 2005.

    If you’re not going to vote Labour, good luck within your party and hope you get it back.

  • Chris Manners 9th May '14 - 5:31pm

    George Eaton ‏@georgeeaton 1m
    Labour source tells me party will go “positive” next week. But confident negative campaigning will help.

    Will be about time, I think.

  • “You might have thought that the idea of facing someone round a negotiating table around a year from now might just have upped the standard of debate”

    This applies as much to Lib Dems as it does to Labour. Let’s face it we haven’t exactly seen Nick Clegg’s promised ‘grown-up politics’ materialise, have we? People in glass houses…..

  • Matthew Huntbach “it – I was contemplating spoiling my paper, but now after this I’ll be putting my X against the Liberal Democrats”

    Goodness me it doesn’t take a lot to change your mind, does it?

  • Jim “I do think the next 12 months are going to be very hard on the party, and as for yellow seats going blue, I really don’t think Labour see any difference, I also suspect the voters feel the same way except the core 6%-7% LD”

    I don’t think there is much difference between Cameron and Clegg. They always look very comfortable with each other.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th May '14 - 2:00am

    Chris Manners and Phyllis

    Obviously it’s a matter of coming to a decision based on all sorts of things. I’ve been a lifelong member of the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party before that, and the political beliefs I have that led me to join and become active in the Liberals haven’t changed much. I want to see something like the Liberal Party I joined prosper and take a lead role in British politics and so change those politics from how they are with the Labour-Conservative duopoly. I have become very unhappy about the direction the Liberal Democrats have taken, not just the way Clegg and those surrounding him have taken it, but also by the way when I come to Liberal Democrat Voice I so often find crude extreme free market positions being pushed by people who proudly display the LibDem Bird by their names, and when one argues with these people they seem to live in a different world entirely from the one I live in – the only people here who seem to agree with the lines I take are people like me who joined the party a long time ago. So, yes I am reaching the point of having to decide whether I want to continue with any sort of support for the Liberal Democrats, and I certainly would not want my vote for the party in the Euro-elections or for a candidate of the party in the local elections to be taken as any sort of endorsement of Nick Clegg. On the other hand, I want the Liberal Democrats to survive because I can’t see any way for the sort of party I want to come into existence apart from the Liberal Democrats being dragged back that way.

    There is so much about the Labour Party I dislike that means leaving the Liberal Democrats and joining Labour would not be an option for me, even if in left-right terms the Labour Party now is closer to where I stand than the Liberal Democrats. However, I would HATE to see this government continue after the next general election, and I live in a very marginal constituency. Could I vote Labour tactically on this basis? That’s a decision for next year. For this year I have to make my mind up what to do in a couple of weeks’ time.

    Of course it’s not just this video that’s the reason why I’ll vote as I will. However, when one is in a dilemma, one often looks for something simple to help one make a decision. For me, this video, and other stuff coming from Labour right now, reminds me so much of why I dislike Labour. It’s arrogant, mindless, and just the sort of yah-booh-sucks politics I hate. So if I am looking for a reason to carry on voting for the party I have always voted for, well, here Labour have supplied me with it.

    I have explained many times in these columns that while I very much dislike this government, I understand that the balance in Parliament caused by the electoral system and the way people voted gave us no alternative but this one. Labour’s accusations are mindless, and show they have no capability for a sensible liberal democratic (small-l, small-d) approach to politics because they aren’t prepared to make any moves which accept this. The reason we have this government in this form is because of the distortional representation electoral system which Labour backs, and they back it because it pushes up Tory representation (alongside theirs) and pushes down the chances of any other party breaking through. In this way, Labour are the true proppers up of the Tories, however much they make knocking attacks like that, until they support electoral reform that remains the case- vote Labour and you also vote Tory, because both Labour and Tory want it like that, Labour and Tory swapping places forever, the old pals act as we used to call it.

  • “So, hear I am ranting and raving against Clegg elsewhere and about the rightward drift of our party, finding much of what this coalition is doing disgusting, a prime target for Labour, surely. But this video sends me running back to the LibDems, and I mean it – I was contemplating spoiling my paper, but now after this I’ll be putting my X against the Liberal Democrats. This sort of RUBBISH from Labour is just what keeps me in the Liberal Democrats.”

    So you’re disgusted with what the Lib Dems have done, but you’re going to vote for them purely because another party has made a personal attack on Nick Clegg? It sounds as though you’re voting Lib Dem just to spite Labour. What sense does that make?

    For my part, I’m disgusted with what the Lib Dems have done, and my heart is telling me not to vote for the local candidates standing as Lib Dems, as a protest. But my head is telling me that some people – probably including some pretty vulnerable ones – will suffer if the council goes Tory. So I’m going to swallow hard and vote Lib Dem, because I don’t want to cut off my nose – or someone else’s – to spite Nick Clegg’s face.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th May '14 - 11:17am

    Chris

    So you’re disgusted with what the Lib Dems have done, but you’re going to vote for them purely because another party has made a personal attack on Nick Clegg? It sounds as though you’re voting Lib Dem just to spite Labour. What sense does that make?

    Oh, come on, PLEASE. Why not try reading what I wrote?

    First of all, while I am disgusted by a lot of what the coalition has done, I accept that it was the only stable government that could have been formed from the May 2010 Parliament, given to us by the way the people voted and by the electoral system which Labour backs. I have also accepted that a party which is only one sixth of that government cannot dictate its policies. I have been making this point continuously for 4 years now. My argument with Clegg is not over what he has “done” in the sense of forming the coalition, but on how he has presented this and used it as an excuse to push the party to the right in general. I believe Labour’s attack on Clegg for not making the country ungovernable by refusing to participate in the only possible government that could have emerged is illogical, and deserves to be treated with contempt.I have been making this point continuously for 4 years now as well. If Labour really think there was an alternative government that is somehow 100% LibDem in policies that could have been formed in May 2010, but the LibDems simply chose not to have it, then there is an easy way for them to demonstrate it – offer that government, since it would be then as the senior coalition partners that would be offering it and “giving in to the LibDems” to enable it. If it really WERE possible, then it is Labour as much to blame for not offering it as the LibDems. But Labour won’t offer it because they know it is not possible and never was. I would not want to support Labour’s illogical line on this matter, or even be seen to support it by being thought of as dropping my support for the Liberal Democrats because of the formation of the coalition. If I support multi-party politics, as I do, I have to support the idea of coalitions. If I support democracy, as I do, I have to support the idea that a government may not have the policies I would want it to have.

    Secondly, I thought I had made it clear that it’s not JUST this one video that has caused me to think as I do in terms of voting. Rather this video has served just as a reminder of why, though my politics are to the left, I have always despised the Labour Party and never had an interest in supporting it, and even though Clegg and the Cleggies have almost driven me out of the LibDems, I have no plans whatsoever to “defect” to Labour.

  • Simon Hebditch 12th May '14 - 3:29pm

    I agree that the Labour broadcast was puerile. The shenanigans surrounding the current election contest simply illustrates the growing doubts about the political process. All Westminster political parties have failed to notice public disquiet and the continuing impact of failed promises. I don’t know how to vote in 2015. I hold to the old belief that I want to see a realignment of the left – a new alliance which encompasses a genuine centre left Lib Dem party with a renewed Labour party. The worst possible outcome next year would be a new Con/Lib Dem coalition. Therefore, I am likely to vote for a candidate who takes the above view about the future. As far as the European elections and the local elections are concerned, I don’t think I’ll bother.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '14 - 1:15pm

    Matthew Huntbach

    But what does this have to do with the elections coming up? They are not UK Parliamentary elections, they are European Parliamentary elections and local government elections. Perhaps if Clegg and the Cleggies hadn’t tried to turn the party into a Clegg Party, so for example its local government campaign is led by a pamphlet presented by Clegg and with no local government figures named, thee attacks would not work so well.

    Indeed. And for the European election we should really be shouting loud and clear that the European Parliament is a Coalition-Free Zone; our MEPs are not bound the Coalition Agreement and the Tories’ allies in the European Parliament are a bunch of right-wing extremists as bad as or worse than UKIP. Our leaflets should proclaim that this is NOT about Clegg, Cameron or Miliband, but about what sort of MEPs we want to represent us in Brussels.
    At least the Green Party Election Broadcast gets it right: after the Clegg/Farage send-up (“Clegg” not looking much like him at all tho’) it then goes on to talk about what Green MEPs specifically have achieved or seek to achieve in the EU.

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