The 2010 General Election is almost upon us, and after months of long, hard campaigning up and down the streets of Britain, it’s turned out to be pretty riveting, nail-biting stuff. A real three-horse race for the first time in over 50 years, it’s really going down to the wire. Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg; it’s all up for grabs and it’s still anyone’s game.
The 2010 Election is also the first in UK history to really harness the power of social media, capturing the attention of young and old alike through impassioned debate on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It’s also meant that it’s the most well documented and satirised UK Election of all time in terms of video content thanks to YouTube.
Here then, is Tech Digest’s guide to the General Election in 12 YouTube videos.
The First Election Debate
The race for Number 10 may have been running for months, but it was the first televised debate between Labour Leader Gordon Brown, Tory David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg that really saw the election go up a gear. All candidates looked visibly nervous, but it was one of the most accessible formats with which to help the public form their opinions before voting, attracting around 9.4 million viewers.
After a sterling effort in the first Election Debate, the Liberal Democrats had their first vote of confidence from the public in an incredibly long time. From Nick Clegg Who? to Cleggmania overnight, Clegg struck a chord with a nation increasingly disillusioned by the governments of the two “old guard” parties.
David Cameron egged
David Cameron has been knocking “Broken Britain” right the way through his election campaign, with his views on hoodied youths marginalising younger voters up and down the country. Tired of being tarred by Cameron’s brush of generalisations, an angry hoody eggs David Cameron during a visit to a college. More ammunition for Cameron showing ASBO land at its worst, or an example of a youth fed up with being unfairly labelled as one of a nationwide epidemic of broken moral values? You decide.
Gordon Brown and “Bigotgate”
If there was one FAIL moment throughout the whole of the campaign, it undeniably has to be Gordon Brown and “Bigotgate”. After a seemingly pleasant chat with loyal Labour supporter Gillian Duffy, Brown, believing to be out of earshot and off camera as he drove away from his tour of Rochdale, described the voter as a “bigoted woman” into a lapel-mic, and into wringing hands of the media. Brown quite valiantly returned and apologised at length (an apology Duffy accepted), but for many the damage was already done.
David Cameron “The Common People”
With over 313,000 views David Cameron’s take on Pulp’s classic Common People anthem is the most hilarious viral the 2010 general election has produced. Giving an insight into his privileged background and rise to Tory power, the song is a satirical warning against Cameron’s policies, reminding viewers of the Thatcher-era problems re-electing a Conservative government could bring.
General Election 2010: Hang Parliament!
With this election closer to being a three-horse race than any other in history, there’s the very real possibility of a hung Parliament as the end result. The Guardian’s John Harris talks the pros and cons of this potential outcome, and the need for electoral reform.
Eddie Izzard and Brilliant Britain
Did you know that gender-bending comedian Eddie Izzard recently completed a run around Britain? Well if you didn’t, now you do. Far from seeing it as the “Broken Britain” the Conservatives saw, Izzard here waxes lyrical on all the wonderful people he met, and the positive changes he saw that a Labour government had brought to many areas.
Nick Clegg’s Fault
Nick Clegg’s Election campaign success took most of the country by surpise, and none more so than the traditional media outlets, many of whom had pledged allegiance to the Tories. A quick and ill-considered media backlash against Clegg ensued, with some very unfair and ridiculous results. If the Daily Mail could have blamed cancer on Clegg, they would have.
And so the Twitter hashtag #nickcleggsfault was born, quickly attributing all the world’s ills to the Liberal Democrat leader with comical results.
This clever news skit sums up the “Nick Clegg’s Fault” trend with aplomb.
Paxman nailed by Plaid Cymru economist
A little removed from the General Election campaign trail, here is a great video of Newsnight stalwart Jeremy Paxman getting a right rollicking from Plaid Cymru’s economic adviser, Eurfyl ap Gwilym.
Arguing over the finer points of the redistribution of Welsh taxes, the usually steadfast Paxman gets rather flustered when he fails to find the figures backing up his argument. Great, heated stuff.
More-so than any other Election campaign, the wives of the party leaders have been thrust into the media spotlight. From Sarah Brown’s Twitter feed to Samantha Cameron’s perfectly timed conception, they’ve been integral on the trail pretty much every step of the way. This little sketch rips into all three, including Nick Clegg’s mysteriously elusive with Miriam.
David Cameron exposed
Classic Armando Ianucci here in this clip from Time Trumpet. David Cameron’s suspect PR techniques are laid bare in this scathing deconstruction of the Tory leader in an alternate reality in which he’s already in Number 10. The actor playing Alastair Campbell deserves a medal.
May 3rd: Gordon Brown hits his stride
It’s been a long time coming, but Gordon Brown really came out fighting yesterday, speaking at a Citizens UK event. A really impassioned speech, touching on everything from the civil rights movement to Brown’s own humble beginnings as a church minister’s son, it was both more confident and more well received than any event held by Brown’s rivals.
Brown’s beginning to look like a real leader now, and it’ll be interesting to see if this final push will be enough for him to retain office.