Tony Blair: A Day In The Life

Well done Downing Street, for getting a government website piece among the day’s Top Stories. Of course, the decision to launch the ‘exclusive insight into PM’s working life‘ on one of the year’s quietest news days was not accidental.
Films have been a part of the Downing Street website for ages; and to be fair, they have tried some interesting new media experiments – such as the (admittedly short-lived) series of weekly MP3 ‘radio addresses‘, clearly modelled on the White House’s example.
At just three and a half minutes, today’s new movie hardly qualifies as a documentary. And indeed, if one were to be cynical, you could see it as a further example of Tony Blair favouring ‘soft interviews’ rather than hard news programmes. With the ‘interviewer’ never being seen or heard during the piece, Blair is effectively interviewing himself – it doesn’t get any softer.
The camera-work is a little amateur in places, and the video quality is perhaps a little disappointing, encoded at a relatively low 200-odd kbps. But Blair always comes across exceptionally well in such relaxed settings – one flash of his teeth, or the odd cheeky remark, and we remember why we fell in love with him in the first place.
Why have they done this? At the very least, the URL will get some free TV advertising today: you can’t miss the address superimposed on the broadcast-quality version of the film issued to the news channels. Traffic to has never been high: and if you trust Alexa’s numbers, the trend over the last three years is consistently downwards. But this is easy enough to understand: despite the PM’s public profile, his office doesn’t deliver any actual services to ordinary people.
Sky’s Glen Oglaza hits the nail on the head when he describes it as a ‘party political broadcast’: that’s exactly what it looks like. But the BBC’s Jo Coburn goes a step further, seeing it as an explicit Labour Party response to the plentiful good coverage of new Tory leader David Cameron. If they really believe that, they should be pushing it further: Downing Street’s website cannot be used as a Labour communication channel.

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