“People before the privileged few” – Labour’s party political broadcast

Sienna Rodgers

Labour’s latest party political broadcast, marking the end of its annual conference, will put faces and personal stories to the new slogan ‘people before privilege’ – created to counter Boris Johnson’s populist narrative.

The PPB features four individuals who “make our party and our country so special”: Holly Ferguson, a firefighter from Sunderland; Youssef El-Gingihy, a GP from Warwick; Chris Rawlins, who runs a community sports co-operative in Gloucester; Andy Welford, a dairy farmer from Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Through to-camera and off-camera interviews, they each talk about their job or role in the local community and how they believe it relates to Labour values. Their stories highlight, in turn, the importance of safety, the NHS, community initiatives and the green industrial revolution.

The video represents a shift in tone compared to previous recent broadcasts, which have emphasised the tough experiences of those hit hardest by Tory austerity. Although the impact of cuts is not ignored, the main focus is on the value of public service and it offers an optimistic view of the future under a Labour government.

The positivity conveyed in the conclusion of the PPB feels appropriate and works well following the many bold policy announcements made at conference and the series of radical motions passed by delegates over the last few days.

Towards the end of the video, the Yorkshire farmer sums up in simple terms the key policy takeaways: “I think Labour offers the opportunity of going in a different direction, as put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, which involves more vibrant public services, a bit of renationalisation where that’s sensible, and the green industrial revolution to revitalise our economy and tackle the pressing problem of climate change.”

The community sports organiser then articulates how Labour hopes its leader will be seen, particularly in contrast to Boris Johnson who has been found to be dishonest even by the Supreme Court. The voter says: “Jeremy Corbyn for me has been a breath of fresh air in my thinking. Very down to earth, very open, very honest. He says it how he sees it.”

Simon Baker, who directed the highly praised PPB ‘Our Town‘ that was released on the last day of Labour’s 2018 conference, died suddenly earlier this year. The enduring influence of his creations – which also include ‘Our Country‘ – is evident.

The latest PPB is not as stylised and ‘gritty’ in appearance, nor does it feature voice-over narration. But it is emotive without being over-sentimental and puts lived experiences at the forefront of Labour’s message in the same way that Baker’s broadcasts did.

Commenting on the new PPB, communities spokesperson and elections chief Andrew Gwynne said: “Holly, Youssef, Andy and Chris serve their communities every day and are the people who make our party and our country so special. They keep us safe, healthy, produce the food we eat and are the people we rely on to make sure we all have a better future.

“They are supporting Labour because they see in us a commitment to support them to improve public services, their communities, and to invest in the green technologies of the future. A general election is on its way and I would encourage everyone who shares this vision to join Labour and take part.”


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