Normally when my husband leaves for work in the morning we exchange a few brief words about our plans for the day or some other mundane domestic matters. Party Election Broadcasts don't feature that often in our early morning conversation. Usually because I'm half asleep. This morning Bob was full of the SNP's broadcast for the local elections - and not in a good way. When I watched it for myself, I saw his point. The whole thing is bizarre.
I take from it that in that the SNP want to see a Scotland where people take in parcels for their neighbours, water their plants, eat fish and chips and put their rubbish out. In fact, it was the rubbish that attracted Bob's attention, because he thought that the woman was putting normal rubbish in a recycling bin, which is one of his greatest pet hates. As it happens, I think he's wrong on that one because recycling bins are most often blue, but never mind. Oh, and I almost forgot - they want to see clowns giving toys to little girls in gardens. Bob asked if that was Alex Salmond's cameo role. I know plenty people who are petrified of clowns - it's quite a common phobia, apparently, so maybe not the best thing to include.
The broadcast was silent on the SNP's record in local Government, or their vision for decent local services. They highlighted a few priorities, but most of them were national. They might say that keeping 1000 extra police was local - but they are the ones who said during last year's Holyrood elections that they would have 3 or 4 police forces across Scotland and who now intend to merge them into a single force with scant local accountability.
"More jobs for young people" would hardly pass the SMART objectives test - although they will be assisted in this aim (shared by everybody) by Nick Clegg's £1bn youth contract.
I wouldn't normally flag up the opposition's work, but I'll make an exception here. I just find it astonishing that there's no mention of schools, social care, housing. None of the people in the SNP's broadcast seem to in poor housing - unlike in the real world where they've slashed the social housing budget. Here in West Lothian, the cuts in classroom assistants are making the school day much more confusing and difficult for many kids. You are never going to cover much ground in 2 minutes, but slick production values. loads of money and a catchy tune just seem to be a bit of an insult to the electorate to be honest. If I were an SNP councillor, I'd be a bit annoyed that the good things they've done in local government weren't being showcased. And, to be fair, they have done some good stuff and they do have some hard working local councillors who serve their communities well.
Compare and contrast with the Lib Dems' effort, produced on a fraction of the cost, cos we're not funded by huge handouts from millionaires, but brimming over with what it means to have the Liberal Democrats in charge locally - investment in schools, the first council houses being built in a generation - and homelessness targets being met early in Perth and Kinross and the Edinburgh Guarantee providing jobs for young people. With more time they could have added in outstanding record on recycling and social care delivered in Fife by Liberal Democrat Councillors Tony Martin and Tim Brett. Isn't that what these local elections are about?
Anyway, have a look at both videos. Ours first:
and now the SNP's
Which do you think captures the spirit of these elections?