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Home > Politics

Party Political Broadcast Till You Puke

1 September 2006

Poor old governments. They're damned if they do and damned if they just sit around quietly sort of governing. Just like parents, any attempts to be cool are roundly ridiculed, and any attempts to pretend coolness doesn't exist or is rubbish are disdained just as much. But bravely, our lot have decided to run headlong into the cool/uncool interface by broadcasting party political stuff (uncool) on YouTube (cool). This is as we speak creating a schism in the fabric of time and space, because cool and uncool *were never meant to conjoin thus in our fragile universe*.

It's actually a perfectly practical move, utilising a new channel of communication used by millions. They'd be daft not to. But inevitably their effort - a desiccated little seven-minute docuburble about 'Sharing in Westminster' - hasn't much engaged the YouTube goons. (Interestingly the second of the government films has been 'removed at the request of COI Television because its content was used without permission'. Asbo their ass!) The comments range from the pithy 'Hahahahah... Tony Blair is a wanker!' to the pithier still 'Pfft'. Actually, the comments so far are relatively considered for YouTube, usually a wasp's nest of dead-eyed, IM-quality hostile shite. One observes that if as the film explains 'The city of Westminster is the 39th most deprived area in the UK' then 'it'll need some very urgent attention then, won't it?' The thing is classic Nu-New Labour, really - helpless to stop itself using sleight of hand with figures in this manner (13% of people are masturbating right now - doesn't that sound like a lot when we put it like that?). The title is immediately off-putting too, with its feely-touchy disingenuousness and vagueness. 'Sharing' is a rubbish word, redolent of American talk shows and those effing Doritos adverts, and we'll have none of it.

The thing with YouTube, like the rest of the cursed Internet and the entire modern world in which we moodily languish, is that being at all off-put leads inexorably to switch-offing. And soon. Like *now* ago. This is because you are intensely aware that whatever you are watching right now is using up some precious eye-power that could be better employed on something else, if not better than at least other. YouTube is packed so densely with mildly distracting things, any of which might raise a slightly lesser 'meh' than what you're disinterestedly semi-absorbing now, that it's practically impossible to concentrate on any one clip. (Except that George Washington one. He invented cocaine, you know.)

So it's fantastically unlikely that anyone poking through the site looking for bunny torture and teenagers crushing their testicles in skateboard mishaps, in two-minute chunks tops, is going to sit meekly before the screen for nigh on seven minutes listening to some boring people being boring about community police and other non-escapist dirge. Of course we watched earnestly because it's our job, but we're hoping to bluff it through to the end of the article without actually admitting we got bored shitless within 23 seconds and all we've really been doing is watching the 'Take On Me' video over and over, and sighing for our lost youth. And Morten Harket's. But we did sigh also for the lost youth of this Labour government, and for the lost innocence of all of us as a consequence. YouGovTube was never going to work. And that's sad. In an almost entirely neutral, one-grain-of-sad-in-a-fifty-gallon-tank-of-meh kinda way.

Never mind! There is more shit on YouTube with people falling off stuff and making terrible stilted tributes to dead R'n'B singers and filming themselves farting than we could ever hope to get through. Truly, we are blessed. But the government should press on with this. They could have Tony in conversation with the people's favourite Geriatric1927. Or Tony falling off a skateboard (the Brits love an underdog, especially an underdog with crushed testicles). They could get the emo contingent to say angst-ridden things about the state of life and then splice in bits of a beatific Ruth Kelly explaining why it's all going to be fine. Or if all else fails they could just leak camcordered parliamentary gossip on there. Yes, Prescott, watch your back, and the back of whomsoever you are making the beast with two backs... with.

Watch and yawn.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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