Art is always experienced through a personal prism of mood and experience that varies from moment to moment. So it’s really impossible to say whether the Labor leadership video Liz Kendall uploaded on YouTube is better or worse than the one Andy Burnham uploaded on YouTube. Admittedly, that’s mainly because they’re both pretty bad.
At least Burnhams looks like a guide video. It is a textbook “Man of the People” profile piece. There’s our Andy, a brother and a son and a husband and a father. There’s our Andy, eating store-bought sandwiches and making keepy-uppies. There is our Andy, who is played by Monica von Friends at the university. There’s our Andy talking about himself next to a suspiciously pristine white leather sofa while his buddy Charlie Falconer whines about what a good guy he is. I wonder who this “Charlie Falconer” character is? Maybe he’s a greengrocer. Or a chimney sweep. Perhaps we’ll never know – surely he’s not related to longtime Labor colleague Lord Falconer?
The message from the Burnham video is that Andy is just like us. He is a man you can trust. That is, as long as you want him to be a man you can trust. If not, just say the word. He can change. He can be whatever you want as long as he’s in power. That’s the most important. Nice, sweet strength.
The Kendall video is something else entirely. She is the only star. We don’t learn anything about their life. We don’t learn anything about their family, background, regrets, or ambitions. The only thing we learn about Liz Kendall is that she doesn’t know what an erase key is.
At least that’s the only possible explanation for her confusing approach to writing. The video shows the process by which Kendall got into creating her own narrative for the video we’re watching. First she writes it all down on a notepad. Then she carefully types it into a computer. There can’t be any mistakes. The last time she tried typing a speech into a computer from scratch, she misspelled the word “aspirational” and couldn’t figure out how to undo it, and she had to toss the entire computer in the trash can.
Sometimes Kendall gets up and paces up and down. The lamp is on. She is the last person in the office. This is what a Kendall tour would look like. If you want your leader to take 3 times longer to complete a simple task, she is your wife. If you want someone to squint the technology like it’s trying to sell her a seedy timeshare, she is your wife. If you’re looking for a leader who lives in an abandoned MFI home office that could be floating around in space for anyone who damn well knows, the choice is clear. You have to choose Kendall.