Reviewing The Labour Leadership Campaign Videos

The Labour Leadership vote creeps ever closer and as it draws nearer the campaigns are getting louder. A large component of promotion in this internet-era are campaign videos as the candidates aim to get their videos shared and their message spread, especially to young people. I decided to watch all of the candidates efforts so you don't have to:

Andy Burnham

Andy4Leader includes the standard speeches about what he will do if elected as well as Sally Lindsey AKA Shelley from Coronation Street as his odd choice of celebrity endorsement. But as well as this there is a bumper 8 minute video creatively entitled Andy Burnham which aims to make him appear more of a person. It's complete with interviews with him in his home as well as his family and friends. It's quite self-deprecating as his wife talks about his mono-brow in a very British way of trying to warm the public to him. In fact it is so British I had to pause the video to smear homemade jam on my thighs to get into the spirit.

But then the video changes tone and concentrates on his work fighting for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. There is some well archived footage of him doing his best to look statesmen-like and noble while being clapped by an Anfield crowd. The video was quite effective as it genuinely made me like him more. Unfortunately the chosen inspirational music at the end of the video was an instrumental version of Not Nineteen Forever by The Courteeners which as well as being a bad song made me think of the idea of fading youth and that the best years are behind us, arguably the position the Labour party find themselves currently in.

Jeremy Corbyn

The Corbyn camp don't have a dedicated Youtube account setup for their campaign, however they do have a number of videos posted on their Facebook page. All of them concentrated of the actual policies with none of them really trying to flesh out Jeremy as a personality. Most of these focused on youth, presumably because a large section of his support is young people, and also its Facebook, where all the 'cool kidz' hang out I have been told. There is also a lot of Owen Jones stuff on there with him doing his usual Owen Jones thing.

It is interesting to note that these videos have been viewed much with all them round the 1000 view point but that is largely down to them being only on Facebook. The most recent video (apart from Owen Jones) was the Northern Voices video which got the opinions of a load of Northerners talking about why Jeremy is so great. It's only 1 and a half minutes long which is wise given the short attention spans of people online. The inspirational music here is We Are The People by Empire Of The Sun which is a much better song than Burnham's choice but does make the video feel slightly like a cult given the 'We are the people who rule the world' line. I know this is meant to be about people-power but it feels like a Scientology recruitment video. For some reason it made me think of the Stonecutters cult from an episode of The Simpsons.

Liz Kendall

Full marks for ingenuity from Liz Kendall's team, her open letter video is probably the most ambitious video any of the candidates has produced. This epic revolves around Liz pacing around her office trying to write a letter to Labour supporters. What I really like about this video is how it shows the tension of having writers block. First she tries hand-writing, then tries writing on the computer from several different angles, including standing next to the window. Finally she gets into the rhythm of it and is darn happy about it, smirking and nodding at her own brilliance whilst smashing out more heart-felt prose. The whole thing feels like a shit House Of Cards filmed in Watford. As she is dead last in the Leadership running  she clearly got a bit desperate in a bid to build popularity and hoped this would go viral. It may, but not in the way she would have wanted.

Like her other videos Liz likes telling stories about Labour's past and how she felt awful after previous electoral defeats. Much like her actual campaign she focuses on electability and the need to 'get power to share it out' which is not the most inspiring message out there. She is also quite keen to show off Chuka Umuna in her videos, a man who pulled out of the leadership race to support her. What a great decision that was. No recognizable inspirational music here, just generic music that you would expect to hear as an interlude in a Radio 4 drama about an English professor trying to come to terms with his own homosexuality.

Yvette Cooper

Well, I couldn't actually find any videos for Yvette's campiagn, just some interviews she did for Sky News. 0 out of 10 for ambition.

So there we have it, the candidates have spoken. Personally I would say Burnham came out in top in this regard as the Hillsborough section was genuinely affecting. However it is 8 minutes long and that only starts about half-way through. I doubt anyone who isn't already a supporter of his would watch for that long, unless they are reviewing it for an ill-conceived blog post on a below-par website. Corbyn and Kendall kept theirs succinct, with Kendall possibly coming out on top on memability.