The London Green Party today launched it’s main campaign video for the London elections, a stylish black and white little number from the director Rebecca Frayn, screenwriter for the recent biopic of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
See what you think;
While not the best Green Party broadcast they’ve ever produced (the Green Party tends to set that bar pretty high) this has a certain quality to it. However, it’s worth taking a closer look as the reaction to the video has been decidedly mixed from those who should be its core audience.
The broadcast is an almost direct copy from the ill fated Irish Greens except, while the Irish version was filmed outside and in colour, the London film is set in a dingy basement. The kids may be allowed to play solo football but they aren’t allowed access to daylight. Who wrote this? Joseph Fritzl?
The look of it
The studio setting and black and white also give the film an artificial quality quite at odds with the clean air, green spaces ethic of the Greens as a whole. I suspect it’s trying to give the whole thing a doomed edge, but its hope that motivates people to take a chance on a smaller party. black and white might have been classy in the eighties, but in the twenty first century it does feel rather dated.
At the end of the day stylistic choices will always be a matter of taste and some have taken against the use of kids, while others have loved that aspect. Personally I’m for any broadcast that doesn’t feature politicians rattling on about five million this and eight billion that. So all power to the children.
I particularly liked the jangley music and dancing although whether the kids chosen look anything like London’s kids is another matter. The decision to film in black and white and inside means that these feel like kids without problems, without ethnicity, without real lives, which inevitably means that many people will see them as middle-class.
The old saying that “the medium is the message” is well worth remembering. These kids are vehicles for a moral message, not the door slamming, spot picking, exam worrying children that many of the viewers will know and love/hate. As such it’s a lot less about free range, organic children than it is about finger waggling. Maybe finger wagging works though.
There are core election themes here like transport, clean air, energy efficiency, jobs, apprenticeships and climate change. strangely there also appear to be some core themes missed out, like the very popular London Living Wage policy. It fails to mention the fact that London has always elected Greens onto the Assembly and that they have made a difference. Also what’s all this about the countryside?
I rather like the line that the greens are for “more police on the street, on our side and not in our faces” although it’s not a particularly hard approach considering the fact that the police kill people and then tell lies about what happened, or the fact that they are currently embroiled in more than one racism and corruption row.
There’s good generic stuff on a government that creates jobs not cuts, that the weak and poor should not pay for the mistakes of the rich and powerful and that the Greens are for a world where people come before before profit.
The absence of yet more discussion of the Mayoral candidates is welcome, although to actually have no mention of London at all? It’s a brave, and almost certainly mistaken, decision not to mention the Assembly elections, how brilliant London is or any of the specific problems that London faces.
London is not like anywhere else and to fail to recognise the fact risks looking out of touch with its living streets, cut off in a black and white studio.