INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
BBC APRIL 15, 2010 - by Brian Wheeler
POLITICAL AD BREAKDOWN: SAY GOODBYE TO BROKEN PROMISES
It's a good job the Liberal Democrats have not promised to tackle Britain's litter problem.
Nick Clegg is practically drowning in the stuff in the party's first general election broadcast.
The Lib Dem leader wanders along the banks of the Thames, leaving a vast trail of waste paper flapping about in his wake.
The litter represents a "trail of broken promises" by Labour and the Conservatives over the past thirty years (the Lib Dems know all about playing the long game).
The broken promises Mr Clegg highlights - fairer taxes, better schools for everyone, cleaning up politics - would all be hotly disputed by Labour and the Tories and also happen to be the key themes of the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
But no matter, Mr Clegg cuts a reasonably convincing figure in his overcoat as he walks and talks through various suburban and rural scenes.
He talks directly into the camera in the same way the actor standing in for Gordon Brown in Labour's election broadcast did the other night.
The haunting soundtrack comes courtesy of Brian Eno, who somewhat bizarrely given his age (sixty-one), is Mr Clegg's official youth adviser.
It's probably a shrewd move for Mr Clegg to focus on trust. This is what the polls say is in danger of strangling this election campaign at birth. No one, it seems, believes a word anybody is saying.
Then again the Lib Dems' opponents will point out that Mr Clegg has never had a chance to break any promises as his party has never been in government at Westminster.
His other major theme is fairness - a direct raid on Labour territory. Most of the broken promises highlighted also seem to be Labour ones, such as free university tuition, a totemic Lib Dem policy which Mr Clegg seemed keen to ditch at one stage before his party dug its heels in.
At least Mr Clegg has managed to shake off Vince Cable for this broadcast. The two have been joined at the hip for the past week.
The Lib Dem Treasury spokesman is seen as the party's best electoral asset - he seems to be one of the few politicians people are willing to listen to at the moment.
Mr Clegg is always quick to stress that he does not mind sharing the spotlight with the sage of the credit crunch, but it must be gratifying to stand on his own merits for a change.
Perhaps they made Vince clear up the litter afterwards.