Belfast Telegraph

Why is the DUP putting on such bold front in election broadcast?

By Lindy McDowell

There are some sights you never thought you'd see on the local political scene - Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness snuggling up to each other on the Stormont steps, Edwin Poots at a GAA match, Michael McGimpsey cracking a smile.

But, for sheer improbability, a black bra in a DUP election broadcast takes some beating.

The broadcast went out earlier in the week and I suspect the party faithful are still trying to work out whether it's exhorting them to vote DUP. Or vote B-amp;Q.

It begins with a pair being awakened by an alarm clock that reads '20.03'. An allusion there to the year when the DUP became the largest party in the Assembly.

Unfortunately, it also means the slumbering couple are being roused from their beds at eight in the evening. Night shift workers, perhaps?

Anyway, they don't seem to notice the time.

Attired in their suitably modest DUP nightwear, they head down for breakfast. Toast, jam and tea.

Nobody on expenses there, then.

Next it's into a room badly in need of a revamp. The girl pulls on a top over her bra. (In the background there's unsubtle talk of changing politics.)

But then it's on to the real stripping ... wallpaper.

What on earth possessed the usually savvy DUP to go for this?

Aside from the obvious fact that anything that involves a bed, a couple and the DUP logo immediately resurrects the spectre of the Iris/Kirk affair, there's the very obvious ammunition being handed to opponents in a political broadcast that looks more like a trailer for 60 Minute Makeover.

DUP whitewashing. Papering over the cracks. Glossing over the bad stuff. You can just hear Jim Allister.

Somewhere in there was a message about party achievement and strategy but you missed all that as you concentrated on the plumping of soft furnishings and adjusting of wall art. The DUP - bringing your home to life.

This was party election broadcast in the style of Colin and Justin.

But it wasn't just about how the DUP had turned a cold house for unionists into Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's idea of suburban naff.

It was also about how voting for the unionist opposition could take us back to the undercoat stage.

An appeal to the traditional DUP homebase in other words.

Thus before you know it, the pair had returned to bed, the clock had gone back and it was deja-vu all over again. Message - vote UUP and you'll never get that living room done up ...

It's probably unfair to single out one single party for election broadcast bizarrity. (At the time of writing, it's the only one I've seen.)

Especially as we know they can all put their foot in it. Remember the UUP's cringe-inducing 'decent people' election ad?

But does any of it really make any difference anyway to the way people here vote?

Not just those interminable, boasting broadcasts. But all those election posters already hanging at wonky angles as they slide down the lamp posts. Do they serve any purpose other than to pose a risk to passing pedestrians who stand a chance of getting an eye taken out by them?

And the stuff put through your letter box that goes straight to the recycling bin (colour co-ordinated with the kitchen tiles, the DUP will be pleased to hear.)

Electioneering 2011?

Still as exciting as watching paint dry.

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