Tuesday, January 30, 2007

18 Doughty Street and the Taxpayers Alliance take on Tax

The first of 18 Doughty Street's new political adverts is online. The production values are good, it is reasonably amusing and it makes a solid attempt to confront the rapid expansion in the variety as well as quantity of tax. Its main value isn't really going to be in changing people's mind but in breaking the public consensus around a shift to a high tax economy. Tim did a good job of defending it on Newsnight.

What worries me is that, thanks to broadcast regulation, these adverts can only be distributed via the Internet and might not reach the mainstream audience which isn't decided on these issues; that the Internet may not have yet sufficiently matured as a mass political communication medium. I think we should be asking the question of why, exactly, this advert can't be placed on television. Issue driven television adverts might play a massive part in reenergising politics outside of the parties. While television is more expensive it is still the crucial medium in connecting with a broader public and I'm sure funding to place this advert could be found.

The one criticism I would make of this particular advert is that it doesn't bring out a serious argument at the end. A relatively lightweight, comedic presentation like this could use a statistic (perhaps one comparing changes in our tax levels to other countries) or two to make those who think the increases in tax we are seeing are moderate or unavoidable think again.

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