Art is always experienced through a personal prism of mood and experience that varies from moment to moment.
So, really, it is impossible to say whether the Labour leadership video that Liz Kendall has uploaded to YouTube is any better or worse than the one that Andy Burnham has uploaded to YouTube. Although, admittedly, this is mainly because they are both quite bad.
At least Burnham’s looks like a leadership video. It is a textbook “man of the people” profile piece. There’s our Andy, being a brother and a son and a husband and a dad. There’s our Andy, eating shop-bought sandwiches and doing keepy-uppies. There’s our Andy, being played at university by Monica from Friends. There’s our Andy, talking about himself next to a suspiciously pristine white leather sofa while his buddy Charlie Falconer yammers on about what a good bloke he is. I wonder who this “Charlie Falconer” character is, anyway? Maybe he’s a greengrocer. Or a chimney sweep. Perhaps we’ll never know – surely he’s not related to long-standing Labour peer Lord Falconer?
The take-home message from the Burnham video is that Andy is just like us. He’s a man you can trust. So long as you want him to be a man you can trust, that is. If you don’t, just say the word. He can change. He can be whatever you want him to be, so long as he ends up in power. That’s the most important thing. Beautiful, sweet power.
The Kendall video is something else entirely. She is the only star. We don’t discover anything about her life. We don’t learn about her family, or her background, or her regrets or ambitions. The only thing we learn about Liz Kendall is that she doesn’t know what a delete key is.
That is the only possible explanation for her bewildering approach to writing, at least. The video shows the process by which Kendall came to create her own narration for the video we’re watching. First she writes the whole thing out on a notepad. Then she gingerly types it up on to a computer. There can be no mistakes. Last time she tried typing a speech on to a computer from scratch, and she misspelled the word “aspirational” and couldn’t work out how to undo it, and she had to throw the entire computer in the bin.
At times, Kendall gets up and paces around. The lamp is on. She is the last person in the office. This is what a Kendall leadership would look like. If you want your leader to take three times longer than necessary to complete a simple task, she’s your woman. If you want someone who will squint at technology as if it’s trying to sell her a dodgy timeshare, she’s your woman. If you want a leader who lives in an abandoned MFI home office that could be floating through space for all anybody bloody knows, the choice is clear. You must vote Kendall.
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