By Evann Clelland
With austerity at an all-time high, no end in sight for Britain leaving the UK, and fake news sweeping the UK media, Boris Johnson has decided to try his hand at film-making. In a seasonal spoof of Love Actually or in this case, “Vote Conservative actually”, Johnson mimicked the famous scene by showing a series of placards on the doorstep of an apathetic voter. This scene, originally popularised by Andrew Lincoln and Kiera Knightly, lacks the original sincerity of the classic movie scene. The placards said statements like ‘Your vote has never been more important’ and ‘We’ll have Brexit Done with any luck, by next year, (if Parliament doesn’t block it again)’.
Sky news Australia claimed this parody was a stroke of genius on Boris Johnson’s part, claiming the man ‘can either make people believe he is either a genius or a Buffoon.’ However, reactions to this spoof have not all been positive, with Political correspondent for Buzzfeed UK Hannah Al-Othman tweeting that “Christmas is already ruined and now my favourite Christmas film is ruined too”. Hugh Grant, the actor who played the Prime Minister in this movie, noted in a Radio 4 interview that the one card missing is the one that refers to telling the truth at Christmas
Johnson’s political ad bears a striking resemblance to not only the Richard Curtis film but also to Labour MP’s Dr Rosena Allin-Kahn’s video where she showed up on a conservative voter’s doorstep to convince him to vote Labour instead. Where the labour MP’s ad reiterated the Labour manifesto, with policies on the pieces of card. Johnson’s AD felt more like begging the voters to vote for him.
Johnson is not the only politician hoping a pop-culture approach to their campaign will win them votes, With Jeremy Corbyn posting a video entitled ‘Mean Tweets with Jeremy Corbyn’. This is a play on the popular segment on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in America, which had the labour leader sit by a fireplace and let him read out tweets that were critical of him and his campaign. Rather than focus on potential voter’s questions and actual criticism of his policies, he read out tweets from people who found him ‘Sexy’ and answered in a comedic way, claiming that there is a magic money tree ‘in the Cayman Islands’.
This lack of a serious approach to the upcoming election has been quite alarming to many voters who still do not know who to vote for. These lack of straight answer approaches in an attempt to humanise these politicians have done the opposite and have proven what most voters believe, that the political leaders of the UK are a joke. Julie Blair, an administrator for a care-home in East Dunbartonshire after seeing the two videos was unimpressed claiming that: “This is taking away from the actual issues we’re actually worried about, I’d much rather they did a simple question and answer video to get a vote”. Another East Dunbartonshire Resident Helen Bada said in a short interview that “these videos are funny but not in ‘ha-ha’ way, it’s just funny that these are the leaders of parties that might end up running our country and they’re doing this”.
Another problem that these ‘jokey’ videos are causing is that other politicians are being ignored for their actual views to make way for so called ‘hilarious’ opinions. On a recent Question Time, Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary for Labour, while trying to discuss Climate Change, was interrupted to be asked if Labour plans to nationalise sausages. Another example is on a Radio 1 interview with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, she was asked if she makes tea for her husband in the morning.
This shortage of serious questions and answers have forced the public to ignore the real issues that our plaguing our country. In a way these ‘pop-culture’ campaign videos are nothing more than a distraction. However, the power is in the people’s hand this election, whether you vote Labour, Tory, SNP, or Lib Dems, or any other party. Just remember that we are voting to save the country.