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Call in the men in the white coats 

For all of its political bias, I sometimes think the Telegraph is a good newspaper. And then they print the completely loony ravings of Peter Oborne.

Tony and Gordon’s fireside chat 

Political junkie that I am, I sat this evening, overlooking San Francisco Bay, and watched today’s Labour party political broadcast (direct link to the Windows Media version. You can find other versions here). It’s easy to mock Anthony Minghella’s artfully shot conversation between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Minghella’s technique of coming in and out of focus, of closing in on Brown or Blair and then panning across a table with a prominent bottle of Highland Spring mineral water (was there a product placement fee?) was occasionally annoying. The continuity was also jarring. Although the audio suggested a single conversation, there were two different venues and sometimes Blair was wearing a tie, others he was open-necked.

The BBC election blog reckons it’s an updated fireside chat, which might be right. But what’s wrong with that?

I thought that overall it hit most of the right chords that remind people of how steady and substantial the domestic achievements of the government have been. Of course it skates over the tensions in the relationship between the two men, which is hardly a surprise. What was good is that it was positive and constructive. I’ve heard that the Labour party’s research reckons that every time a voter sees a picture of Conservative leader Michael Howard, Labour’s positives go up. But there was no trashing of the opposition in the broadcast — just singing a good Labour tune.

It looks like tomorrow’s Tory broadcast is going to take a different, let’s-frighten-the-voters line.

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