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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Political Ad Breakdown VII

REVIEW OF POLITICAL ADVERTS
By Brian Wheeler

POSTED: Friday 29 April, 1845BST

Aaagh! It's a giant purple squid! With horrible gnashing teeth! Run for your lives!

Screengrab from UKIP's broadcast
UKIP's broadcast
The UK Independence Party's election broadcast is not the subtlest piece of film-making you will see this bank holiday, but it could well be the funniest.

The giant squid represents the EU of course (just in case you miss the point it has 12 stars tattooed on its ugly forhead). The "alien body" looms over St Paul's, swiping its tentacles at terrified passers-by, it "smashes" our currency and engulfs the Houses of Parliament.

Then, just when you think it's safe to emerge from behind the sofaż. Aaargh! it's Roger Knapman!

"This is not entirely science fiction," says the UKIP leader in his most reassuring tones.

And - who's this? It's TV chef Rusty Lee! With her "infectious" chuckle - "The European Union - they are having a laugh!"

Then a worryingly frail old gent with a white beard is asked if he wants an extra £25 a week in his pension.

"I'd rather have independence from the EU," he says.

"With UKIP you can have both!"

Free cash and protection from alien invasion? Where do we sign?

Meanwhile the Green Party also goes for a dystopian fantasy in its election broadcast - except this time it's every young, leftish, George Bush-hating urbanite's worst nightmare.

It's the United States of Great Britain!

It's a future world where black-clad security guards demand to see your ID card and say "have a nice day" in a sickly yank acccent. It's a world of "re-elect president Blair" and "eat gm foods" banners and round-the-clock casinos.

Unlike UKIP, which seems more than happy to concentrate on its single, defining issue, the Greens attempt to broaden their appeal with references to rampant consumerism and the importance of good local services.

But in many ways the point of the ad is the same - that this is a party which is more than ready to take its first seats at Westminster, and that therefore a vote for it is not wasted.

So we meet a succession of young, smartly turned-out Green candidates - far from the beards and sandals stereotype of yore - talking about how the party has grown up and matured.

It's a slick, professional piece of film making, but Ad Breakdown can't help thinking it is missing something. The Greens are a pretty eurosceptic bunch (they are against the single currency and the constitution). Couldn't they have borrowed UKIP's squid? Just for a couple of hours?

The ukip ad is greatm
James Edwards, Kidderminster

Would the Green party be better off using "Be Seeing You" a la The Prisoner rather than saying "Have A Nice Day"?
Ian, Cambridge UK

The Green Party's broadcast to me just seemed extremely immature, with the same "It's the new 1984" stuff every leftist political crank on the Internet has been spewing for years (this coming from a leftist political crank on the Internet). The inclusion of pop music was probably just a grab at the "yoof" as well. Really, really poor.
Joe Baldwin, Chesham, Bucks

At one time we only had Raving Monster Loonies, now we have a lunatic fringe with a serious intent. While UKIP's demonising of Europe may say more about their hysterical xenophobia than it does about the EU, it is a serious message, as is the Green's reminder of the likely penalties we may all pay for the rampant consummerism endorsed by all the main parties. We also have Respect which does at least offer an organised, focused, old Labour position for the first time in years. This time all the colour and variety is provided by the minor parties whilst the main parties are boring us to death because they dare not say anything not approved by a spin doctor. This time, go out on a limb, vote for something you believe in, all the big players deserve a good kicking!
John, Cambridge, Cambridge

I think Wheeler's comparison between UKIP and the Green Party is a crass generalisation. I agree with most of the remarks made regarding the UKIP broadcast, but surely no-one can compare Euroscepticism of the Greens to the near-racism (my opinion only!) of the UKIP. Besides, it is a minor point only - the Green Party broadcast was (apart from the first 30 seconds or so) slick, well presented and thoughtful. It missed out a lot of manifesto issues (the 'new' Green party is surprisingly comprehensive - check their site if you don't believe me) but mentionned a lot of key issues which should be vote winners.
R. Myhill

Poor old squid - isn't it simply thrashing out in its attempt to find the UKIP so-and-so who forcibly tattoo'd it? As a Green Party member, I have to say we condemn such animal cruelty!
Peter Barber, Glasgow, Scotland

Indeed. I was almost convinced it was a Doctor Who re-run. Ah, the fine tradition of absolutist fear-mongering.
Gianna Kaye, Cambridge

What exactly is a sickening yank accent? Have a nice day!
Curt Carpenter, Dallas,Tx USA

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