Election 2010 Lookahead: Monday 3 May

The who, when and where of the campaign.

It's a bank holiday, so all campaigning has been suspended. Joke. Here's what is happening three days before polling:

Labour

Tony Blair is expected to be back in the north-east today campaigning for the party he used to lead. Gordon Brown will be in eastern England this morning, before returning to London to speak at an event this afternoon organised by CitizensUK, a body that represents 150 groups including churches, mosques and schools. James Macintyre and Jonathan Derbyshire will be blogging from the event.

 

Conservatives

David Cameron will also be speaking at the central London event this afternoon organised by CitizensUK. The Conservatives will also lay out their plans on equality.

 

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg will be back in London this morning to host his party's press conference. He will then join Gordon Brown and David Cameron to address the CitizensUK event in central London.

 

The media

The Daily Politics hosts another of its policy debates. Today it is education with Ed Balls for Labour, Michael Gove for the Conservatives and David Laws for the Lib Dems (BBC2, 2.15pm). Over on Channel 4 there is a Dispatches election special. The journalist Ben Laurence goes behind the scenes of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat campaigns (8pm).

 

Away from the campaign

It's the annual Stilton Cheese Rolling in . . . er, Stilton. This year's theme is "International Dance". Make of that what you will.

Follow the New Statesman team on Facebook.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

Show Hide image

Indie band The 1975 want to “sue the government” over the Electoral Commission’s latest advert

Frontman Matt Healy perhaps isn’t aware that the Electoral Commission is not, in fact, the government (or believes that this is part of a wider conspiracy).

How do you make registering to vote in the EU Referendum cool? It sounds like something  from The Thick of It, but judging by the Electoral Commission’s latest TV ad for their new voting guide, this was a genuine question posed in their meetings this month. The finished product seems inspired by teen Tumblrs with its killer combination of secluded woodlands, vintage laundrettes and bright pink neon lighting.

But indie-pop band The 1975 saw a different inspiration for the advert: the campaign for their latest album, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (Yes, a title perhaps even more cumbersome than “The EU Referendum - You Can’t Miss It (Phase One)”).

Lead singer Matt Healy posted a picture of the guide with the caption “LOOK OUT KIDZ THE GOVERNMENT ARE STEALING OUR THOUGHTS!!” back on 17 May. The release of the TV spot only furthered Healy’s suspicions:

Healy perhaps isn’t aware that the Electoral Commission is not, in fact, the government (or believes that this is part of a wider conspiracy).

The 1975’s manager, Jamie Oborne, was similarly outraged.

Oborne added that he was particularly “disappointed” that the director for the band’s video for their song “Settle Down”, Nadia Marquard Otzen, also directed the Electoral Commission’s ad. But Otzen also directed the Electoral Commission’s visually similar Scottish Referendum campaign video, released back in September 2014: almost a year before The 1975 released the first promotional image for their album on Instagram on 2 June 2015.

Many were quick to point out that the band “didn’t invent neon lights”. The band know this. Their visual identity draws on an array of artists working with neon: Dan Flavin’s florescent lights, James Turrell’s “Raemar pink white”, Nathan Coley’s esoteric, and oddly-placed, Turner-shortlisted work, Bruce Nauman’s aphoristic signs, Chris Bracey’s neon pink colour palette, to just name a few – never mind the thousands of Tumblrs that undoubtedly inspired Healy’s aesthetics (their neon signs were exhibited at a show called Tumblr IRL). I see no reason why Otzen might not be similarly influenced by this artistic tradition.

Of course, The 1975 may be right: they have helped to popularise this particular vibe, moving it out of aesthetic corners of the internet and onto leaflets dropped through every letterbox in the country. But if mainstream organisations weren’t making vaguely cringeworthy attempts to jump on board a particular moment, how would we know it was cool at all?

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.