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    Wednesday, 20 May 2009

    Condescensions with Nick Clegg – A Lib Dem Party Election Broadcast

    “Please tell me you’ve watched this” the email read. I hadn’t. I was watching a very important patch of recently applied viscous wall covering, dry. Still, it had to be worth a watch? And the wall was pretty much dry by this point.

    I should have known better when the ‘change’ music came on. The violins a-chirped and up popped Clegg, face equally a-chirpy (he always looks so cheerful – he tried to get angry over the Ghurkas but only succeeded to look as though he was smiling through a bout of particularly bad heartburn).

    “Well I’ve been doing town hall meetings for….” Oh God. We’re in patronising territory here, please don’t mention the ‘ordinary people’. Too late. Clegg was telling us that it wasn’t a policy… patronising pause, not a number, not a statistic. Close up on an ordinary person. Apparently it’s just doing things differently – ironic, this format seemed suspiciously familiar. The violins were still going like mad. We weren’t told what exactly ‘it’ was.

    The cameraman clearly had no idea either, he’d clearly fallen asleep. Clegg was suddenly standing at a forty five degree angle. Close up on Clegg’s hands and an ‘ordinary person’ grinning like, well, Gordon Brown. There were many ‘special effects’. Perhaps the intern had found the ‘FX’ menu on Microsoft Movie Maker?

    Clegg urged us to ‘just come and talk to him’, ask him anything. Hang on a minute. This is familiar. Clegg Direct anyone? No? Oh right, sorry, this was ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ (Part 1 – which means we have more of this to ‘look forward’ to). The Lib Dems must be keen on radical language reform because the last time I looked, conversation involved a little more than have someone answer a question. Tea and biscuits are definitely required. As is less of standing in the middle of what can only be described as a nuclear bunker, wafting your arms. Where were they filming this anyway? Turnstile!?

    ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ faded into black (I told you they’d found the ‘FX’) and then Nick Clegg faded back in again. We even got a helpful banner. “Nick Clegg – Leader of the Liberal Democrats”. Really? Lib Dem election broadcast with Nick Clegg? Wouldn’t have arrived at that conclusion on my own.

    The violins had stopped. Clegg was getting serious – I’d turned off, it was dull now and we were only one minute in. It was like watching the head prefect in the school play. He was talking about swiss cheese and tax cuts. Tax cuts paid for by swiss cheese? Had I fallen asleep. Was this real? The Violins were going again as the text faded in (getting a bit advanced!). Tax cuts. Swiss Cheese. Lib Dems. The whole thing was cheesy – a bad imitation of a certain other election broadcast. This wasn’t conversation but condescension with Nick Clegg. I felt cheesed.

    As I type, Dave has popped up, on the train, signing papers, in the car, touring the country doing Cameron Direct. Out of the main party leaders, so far it seems that he’s the only one who can see daylight.

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