Tom Hanks, Carly Rae Jepsen, an under-the-weather Nick Clegg and a day in Gravesend

With thanks to The Times, for a headline I never thought I’d write here on LDV:

There are lots of reasons why the Liberal Democrats were wiped out at the general election. To the long list we might now add that the world never got to see Nick Clegg’s version of a pop music video in which he pretended to be Tom Hanks.

In the weeks before polling day last year the deputy prime minister spent several days, and almost £8,000 of party funds, starring in a shot-for-shot re-creation of the video for I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen, the Canadian singer.

The stunt was conceived as a way of getting the Lib Dem leader to “go viral”, but it was never shown publicly and staff were sworn to secrecy about its existence.

In the original music video, Hanks is seen waking in his pyjamas before walking the wintry streets of Manhattan in leather gloves and a heavy coat, high-fiving passers-by as he mimes to the song.

In Mr Clegg’s low-budget version, he spent hours on the streets of Gravesend, Kent, as a film crew re-created every shot. It included hitting a ping-pong ball, posing for selfies and dancing with young people.

Mr Clegg, who had a temperature, told friends that it was only after he got into his car at the end of a day’s filming that he thought: “Why the f*** did I do that?”

One senior Lib Dem source said yesterday: “On reflection it definitely would’ve gone viral, but probably not in the way we’d intended. Although I doubt it could’ve made the election result any worse.”

If you’ve never seen the original video, enjoy:


UPDATE 22 July: A bit of Friday fun – someone has actually set up a petition on calling for the video to be released anyway. Might be worth signing if you are feeling mischievous enough…

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  • Sounds like a day and 8000quid wasted in the election campaign.
    I’m sure it was worth it and party members whose subs paid for this are very happy.

  • Max Wilkinson 21st Jul '16 - 3:46pm

    They should definitely release this video.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Jul '16 - 4:17pm

    As a youth , many of us saw Neil Kinnock in a Tracy Ullman pop video , that was in the full view of the public , I know that Nick got roped in to “secret courts ” , but bring it on we members have a right to see this !

  • It says a great deal about the ineptness and lack of judgement of those concerned at the time ….. including Mr Clegg himself…… and this when there were so many serious issues to be faced. One can only reflect the judgement of the electorate was right.

    It would be helpful if ‘The Voice’ could also either confirm or deny the story on page 9 in the latest edition of ‘Private Eye’ claiming (and I quote), “As the other two parties went into meltdown, senior Lib Dems took to the phones to sound out members on whether the time was ripe to ditch Tim Farron and replace him with, er, Nick Clegg”………. “Recent Labour and Tory turmoil has just made the Cleggies bring their plan forward by six months”.

    It would be interesting to hear if anyone received such a ‘phone call’. If it turns out to be true the party won’t see a lot of us for dust.

  • £8,000 ?

    So, that’s my membership subscription for the next 250 years spoken for.

    I might mention it next time I get one of those regular phone calls asking for money.

    An apology to members might be in order.

  • Daniel Walker 21st Jul '16 - 8:19pm

    I agree with Andy Hinton, it sounds like a lot but isn’t in context. Probably a mistake to spend it on what is probably a very cringe-worthy video, but frankly, these things happen. At least they were trying.

  • Peter Watson 22nd Jul '16 - 9:17am

    It is reported that in order to go and film this video, Clegg left the debate on the Lib Dem alternative pre-election budget that Danny Alexander presented to Parliament.
    His absence was noted at the time and added to the ridicule heaped on the Lib Dems over this. On this site ( someone commented, “The Daily Politics and The World at One both poked fun at Danny. They portrayed his yellow box as some sort of joke and the Daily Politics showed Clegg walking out and hardly anyone in the Chamber there in the first place.”

  • Gary Fuller 22nd Jul '16 - 9:58am

    Bad idea, almost certainly. Something I really want to see now I’ve heard about it, definitely. This is no doubt pretty small fry in the list of mistakes that the Party can apply the benefit of hindsight to going forward. So, I’d probably draw a line under it, put it on YouTube, accept the ridicule gracefully, learn from it, then move on. Definitely put it on YouTube though…

  • The other parties have done some daft things too. Some supporters of another party seem to be doing rather nasty things if what we hear is true.

  • I think the filming in Gravesend also included the PPBs (which were pretty dire, I grant you) with the look left, right, then cross messaging which came from nowhere at the start of the election.

    It’s not as if the equipment wasn’t there already so it was an extra rather than a standalone piece of work.

  • The interest is now aroused ….. if party money paid for it … i think we have a right to see the video. In the different climate that now prevails it may go down well with the public 🙂

  • Paul Murray 22nd Jul '16 - 4:18pm

    Yes, my recollection was that Clegg ran out of The Commons to go off and film the abysmal “Look Left, Look Right, Then Get Run Over” thing, just as Danny Alexander was about to reveal the Lib Dem alternative budget to the complete indifference of everyone.

  • @ Ian Sandison,

    As far as I know, it was first used by H.H. Asquith in his valedictory farewell speech to the Paisley Liberals after losing his seat in 1924.

  • @Ian Sanderson and David Raw, the obscure facts known by LDV commenters never ceases to amaze me.

    The Liberals gained 19 seats in 1929, so it was clearly more successful then than it was in 2015.

  • We must for once be grateful to the Murdoch organ for confirming to the world, if there were ever any doubts, that the occupents of the George Street bunker in 2014 were in a situation of what medically-trained souls would describe as ‘cranio-rectal anastomosis’.

    Of course, the obvious but apparently-unexplored option would have been to get Tom Hanks to act as Nick Clegg for the period of the election campaign. How many more parliamentary seats might we now have held? 🙂

    Of course there is nothing new under the Sun.

    I am grateful to Peter Black of Swansea for informing us on his blog that the sleeve of this (vinyl) record when it was released “contained an illustrated guide on how to do the Liberal dance” – an important adjunct to proper canvassing.

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