Love, Actually inspires UK election memes

Love, Actually is all around this year in Britain's pre-Christmas general election.
Love, Actually is all around this year in Britain's pre-Christmas general election.

LOVE, Actually is all around this year in Britain’s pre-Christmas general election.

The 2003 romantic comedy about the love lives of assorted Londoners over the holiday season has played a surprisingly large role in the campaign for Thursday’s election.

It has inspired political ads from both Labour and the Conservatives, and Love, Actually star Hugh Grant has been out on the campaign trail urging voters to oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson’s Conservatives flooded social media on Tuesday with an ad parodying the Love, Actually scene in which Mark (Andrew Lincoln) stands at the door of secret crush

Juliet (Keira Knightley), professing his love on a series of cue cards while her new husband sits obliviously inside.

In the political ad, Johnson stands on the threshold of a voter’s home, promising that if she votes Conservative “by this time next year, we’ll have Brexit done . and we can move on”. The ad ends with an entreaty to “Vote Conservative actually.”

Johnson says he will lead Britain out of the European Union by the scheduled January 31 deadline if he wins.

Opposition Labour candidate Rosena Allin-Khan accused the Conservatives of ripping off her own similar Love, Actually spoof, posted several weeks ago, in which she persuades a Conservative voter to change his mind.

The Conservative ad also sparked a flood of parodies, with rival parties and social media users replacing the writing on Johnson’s cards with less flattering slogans.

Former Justice Secretary David Gauke, who was expelled by Johnson for opposing his Brexit plan and is running as an independent, tweeted a photo of himself holding a card with the words “Brexit won’t get done, actually.”

In another scene in the movie, Grant, as a boyish British prime minister, berates a boorish US president played by Billy Bob Thornton.

In this election, Grant has gone out on the campaign trail with non-Conservative candidates, urging electors to vote tactically to kick Johnson’s party out of office.

“I did notice that one of the cards from the original film that he (Johnson) didn’t hold up is the one where Andrew Lincoln held up a card saying ‘because of Christmas you tell the truth,'” Grant told the BBC.

“And I just wonder if the spin doctors in the Tory party thought that was a card that wouldn’t look too great in Boris Johnson’s hands.”