All the things wrong with the Conservatives’ ‘chilling’ Birmingham video

All the things wrong with the Conservatives’ ‘chilling’ Birmingham video

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Parliament TV

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about political attack ads recently, it’s that when they attract controversy, the party tends to double down and release more – with examples including Labour’s string of Rishi Sunak graphics and now, the Conservatives’ black and white videos highlighting issues facing specific UK cities.

Earlier this week, the Tories were mocked for sharing a video with the caption “London under Labour has become a crime capital of the world”, only for it to contain footage of New York City.

Commenting on the advert – which was deleted and reposted by CCHQ – a source close to London mayor Sadiq Khan told the Press Association: “It’s true to form for the Tory campaign. It’s a deeply misleading attack intentionally talking down London, from a candidate who appears to have no love for the city she aspires to lead.”

The “candidate” to which the source is referring is Susan Hall, who’s standing for the Tories on May 2 and whose mayoral campaign has been met with widespread ridicule.

And a month before this, the Conservatives were slammed for sharing an edited clip of Khan saying Labour is “proud to be both anti-racist and antisemitic”, without including footage of him immediately correcting himself after he misspoke.

Well, off the back of the London advert which they claimed “shocked the world” (probably in a way the Tories weren’t expecting, actually), the Conservatives shared their latest video taking aim at Labour’s “failure” in Birmingham.

The American male voiceover says: “A tale of mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility unfolds on life under Labour. A black hole in their budget has driven the Labour-run Birmingham council to pass on the problem, hiking up council tax by an eye-watering 21 per cent.

“In life under Labour, the scales of justice are balanced by a force beyond mortal comprehension.”

Except, like its predecessor, there’s a number of things wrong with the video, starting with the fact that, well, councils have been dealing with funding cuts from central government for a while now.

In a page on its ‘Save Local Services’ campaign, the cross-party Local Government Association writes: “Councils are facing an inflationary storm. Without Government action, councils face difficult choices such as raising council tax alongside cutting the local services our community – and economy – rely on.

“Despite additional funding, this year council finances are under strain like never before.

“If nothing changes, councils are facing a funding gap of £4 billion over the next two years.”

The organisation goes on to call for “adequate funding” for local authorities.

The dire situation has been pointed out to the Tories by Twitter/X users, along with a reminder of what former prime minister Liz Truss did to the economy:

Or how about the fact that, while Birmingham City Council is indeed Labour-run, the city is one overseen by West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who’s seeking re-election in May, and isn’t exactly helped by a video talking down Birmingham:

And last, but by no means least, TalkTV correspondent Oliver Whitfield-Miočić spotted that the video is guilty of making the same mistake as the London one – by once again using stock footage from New York:


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