Friday, April 16, 2010

The big sleep

Ok, I only managed to watch three quarters of an hour of the "prime ministerial" debate last night - and that was more than enough to get me dozing off in my armchair. As debates go, it was one hell of a yawn and if this is the best that they can come up with galvanise the public into going to the polling booths to cast their votes then we could be in for a record low turn out on May 6th.

Where do I begin? I suppose the best place is to start with the policies and hard substance that the three leaders came up with.


OK - that's got that bit over with so let's move on to what this was really about - style and personality.

Brown looked awkward and shabby. For some reason he always reminds me of the TV detective Lieutenant Columbo played by Peter Falk - perhaps it's the dodgy eye. If his stylists gave him a grubby mac and stuck a half-chewed cigar in his paw he'd probably appeal much more to viewers than he does now. Or he might look like a flasher - it's hard to know unless they try it.

Of course, they can't do that because modern politicians never wear overcoats these days (because they are rarely out of their cars) and because being seen to be a smoker is considered slightly worse than strangling cats for a hobby.

Cameron looked shifty. The poor man tries so hard to appear sincere, but fails miserably - he just comes across as opportunist and fake. Part of the problem is that nobody knows what he stands for still. He talks in vague, sweeping generalisations and mouths the required rhetoric - but none of it sounds genuine no matter how hard he tries to appear earnest and passionate. It's clearly as false as Lt. Columbo's glass eye.

Clegg won the "debate" easily - but that was to be expected. As the leader of the Liberal Democrats he has nothing to defend so could spend all his time on the attack - but the man looked like a sixth former at a school assembly alongside his headmaster and geography teacher. That image was exacerbated by the patronising way both Cameron and Brown repeatedly kept trying to ally themselves to Clegg - possibly a tactic in the event of a hung parliament.

Ultimately, none of them had anything to say that was new, fresh or even vaguely approached the idea of real solutions to Britain's many problems. Worst of all, they all seemed to agree on the fundamental approach to these problems with only minor differences on detail. This is, of course, because all three lead parties with broadly similar political philosophies - left of centre progressive liberalism.

Overall, the event confirmed my worst fears. It will do nothing to improve the democratic process of Britain but will further entrench the social liberal hegemony. The media got what they wanted - they froze out dissent, stifled argument and bolstered the liberal elite's stranglehold on British politics.

They'll spend the next few days telling us how fantastic this was - how it was "groundbreaking" and will change the face of British politics forever. In truth it was dull, dishonest and instead of changing anything it has merely ensured that the progressive liberal hold on the political system - an ideology supported by the media at the expense of all others - remains intact.

I suspect that was always the intention.

1 comment:

Antisthenes said...

The trouble with progressive liberalism is that it has a habit of destroying or at least impoverishing itself. That would be fair comeuppance except it takes every poor innocent bystander with it.