Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday campaign notes

Andrew Rawnsley could hardly have chosen a more ironic moment to make the cynical observation on the BBC's The Campaign Show that, the way things are going with the presidentialisation of the campaign and the relentlessly trivial focus on leaders' wives, perhaps Sarah Brown, Samantha Cameron and Miriam Clegg should simply settle the election with a wet T-shirt contest. I couldn't have been the only viewer to wince when Jon Sopel's next words were "and we're joined now by the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, Harriet Harman". But, to be fair, the High Priestess of Labour feminism showed admirable restraint and didn't respond to the jibe. If she'd wanted to be partisan, though, she could of course have pointed out that one of the three women has indeed shown interest in the past in becoming a glamour model, and it wasn't Sarah Brown.


Given that one of my main preoccupations in this election is the hope that the Conservatives will fall short of an overall majority, and given also that the polls show it is currently very much on a knife-edge whether they will or not, my blood was boiling somewhat to see ITN give David Cameron a free party political broadcast in the first five minutes of their evening bulletin. Of course it's utterly outrageous that the three wealthy ex-Labour MPs facing charges related to their expenses claims are able to claim Legal Aid. But for David Cameron to set himself up as the 'voice of the people' on the subject? This from the leader of the party that brought us state-financed moat-cleaning for the landed gentry. (Not to mention state-financed floating mansions for the wildfowl of the landed gentry.)


On the other hand, the segment of Cameron's interview on Tonight that dealt with the death of his son was clearly utterly sincere and almost unbearable to listen to. I suppose there is a question mark over whether the official campaign period is the most appropriate time for this very personal type of interview, but for better or worse the genie now seems to be out of the bottle. I haven't looked at Political Betting or ConHome for a good few days, but my strong guess is there would have been no repeat tonight of the utterly disgraceful 'Tears for Piers' meme that was doing the rounds with the usual suspects when Gordon Brown showed similarly sincere emotion in his interview with Piers Morgan a few weeks ago. Well, you wouldn't really expect consistency from the CyberTories, would you?


The most surreal moment of Nick Clegg's grilling by Jeremy Paxman was when he not-very-subtly smuggled in the line "I've actually co-authored a book on this subject", chuckling slightly in a vain attempt to make it sound spontaneous. Did he think he was on Wogan or Parkinson? Ah well - he certainly won't be making it to Downing Street on the back of that performance, so flogging a few copies of his book on Amazon isn't a bad Plan B. I trust he's not holding his breath on that score either, though.

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