Cameron prettier, Clegg the winner

I’d say “it’s obviously me”, but I don’t think it is: I think that, once again, it’s the media.

‘Thrilling finale to big debate’ warbled The Times this morning. Thrilling?

But anyway, here’s some evidence that backs us, not the media: the viewing figures between the first and second debates more than halved – from 9.9 down to 4.4 million folks variously yawning, groaning and not so much nodding as nodding off. I made it to the end of this one, but the event was awesome in its ability to make one wish there was something better on. Only a strong sense of journalistic duty kept me from watching the third repeat of the Angolan snail Derby over on

The Tory press hailed Cameron as the victor, and the opinion polls seemed to say the same thing at first glance. Well, he didn’t do it for me. When challenged, as the camera cut away to him, the Conservative leader looked every inch the schoolboy having trouble with his algebra. What he didn’t look like was a Prime Minister – whereas sadly, Nick Clegg did.

I say ‘sadly’ because neither he nor Cable have any credibility at all in Whitehall….and especially not at the Treasury. Nevertheless, Clegg remained what he’s been from the start: plausible, and different. And if you look at how floating voters responded, he won hands down. Last in the post-debate beauty contest perhaps – but very effective at what he was trying to do. Cameron has, I’m afraid, spent his whole time preaching to the converted.

As for Brown, the first post-Duffed-up opinion polls show no backlash against Labour – probably suggesting two things: they knew all that about Brown anyway; and the Party is now down to those supporters who would vote for Gaddafi if he was Leader. Having until now looked merely self-serving, Gordon is finally looking self-destructive. And ill.

The TV debates have, said The Times ‘profoundly changed electoral politics forever’. Well, a Newscorp paper would say that (the whole thing was Sky’s idea in the first place) but I would take issue with the suggestion that this has been profound, and the implication that it may have been a force for good. I think it has paved the way for Britain’s Berlusconi – wherever he might be at the moment.

One extremely superficial man representing a confusing rag-tag rainbow of a Party has emerged as having serious credentials for the top job. Thus would be controlling a tricky coalition at a pivotal time in our history. His folksy ‘break up this squabble between the other two children’ style and childish ‘How much? Yes or No?’ aggression belie the fact that he is himself evasive, dissembling and full of himself. He is also a big-State EU trougher, and probably the very last thing Britain needs right now. But then, being the last thing we need is the one measure upon which the three debaters have run a dead-heat – inseparable even by a photo-finish.

5 thoughts on “Cameron prettier, Clegg the winner

  1. I usually agree with much of what you say but I really don't think Nick is superficial. Far from it – he has proved that he can "grasp the moment", not buckle under pressure and maintain his views without the petty bickering that puts so many people off politics. People actually expect these guys at the top to be better at arguing/discussion that their mates in the local watering hole! Only Nick has maintained that demeanour – to his credit. That his party is not ready for government goes without saying, if they happened to win, against all odds, I think there would be one of the biggest Oh Shit! moments in history. They certainly look at the moment like being able to have a great influence on policy and parliamentary make-up. That will give them enough Oh Shit! moments for the first few years of their re-emergence to major politics and policy. Having said that, even tho' they are totally inexperienced they probably couldn't make a worse mess that the last lot! I for one will vote for his party – not because I think he can win (especially here in deepest darkest Surrey) but to demonstrate to the others that we ARE listening and watching.


  2. I thought the "worm" response was very interesting. Almost every Brown comment switched people off; they obviously are no longer listening. He could announce free beer for all and nobody would hear it.Clegg continued to play to the gallery. Every time he said "look at the other two fighting" the worm responded positively but on matters of substance he wasn't really believed. And that's probably accurate because few people think the LibDems could actually run the country.Every time Cameron ran a "New Conservative" soft & fluffy theme the worm stayed neutral but every time he pulled out the old policies — cap on immigration; low taxes; cut spending; get people off welfare etc. then the worm shot up. Very revealing.There's a hint there that we could be in for a lurch to the right as votes harden this week.Maybe the old "dog whistle" sound bites still have a resonance with the public.Certainly round here (Cambridgeshire) there is only one topic on the doorsteps and it's not the economy; it's immigration.


  3. I felt Cleggie looked like the Head Prefect arguing with the teachers. Gordon won no friends by shaking his head all the time in an effort to divert attention away from the others. And every time he smiled, I could hear a thousand Labour voters walking away.More interesting was the sheer bald-faced brazen effrontery of Mandelson, in declaring that his boy had "Barn-stormed" the debate. Mandy looked strained and ill, as did also Charlie Whelan, Ali Campbell and even Kevin Maguire, who used to be a journalist and a dealer in facts.Time to remind ourselves, I think, that although we have called it "spin" for a long time now, it is, in fact, LYING. These people accept money and position and power by LYING for a living.


  4. Last night Brown was already wearing his death mask. Cameron looked puzzled a lot as though he did not understand what was going on around him. The "victory" declared by the Tory press seems is a concerted attempt to big him up.Clegg did OK, but not as well as before. If he were superficial, as you claim, he would have joined one of the main parties, rather than attempt to gain power with the Lib Dems. That is not superficial, that is seriously ambitious.


  5. Someone ask Cleggy who Anna Span is and see his face turn a whiter shade of pale!Also, ask him what was decided at the Lib Dem 2004 party conference concerning 16 year olds and porn, check it out for yourselves.


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