Friday, April 23, 2010

Debatable Value

I was hoping to avoid talking about politics or the General Election again this week. However, the latest of these bloody televise 'leader debates' has moved me to vent my spleen once again. I'll be quite frank, these debates are a complete waste of time. On the simplest level, they completely misrepresent our political system - we're electing a parliament, not a Prime Minister. Furthermore, they give an entirely false impression of the candidates involved - they offer only the most superficial of criteria upon which to judge them. Just because a party leader is good in a debate, it doesn't mean that they'll be any good at running the government - that involves a completely different set of skills and will expose them to entirely different pressures and challenges. Nick Clegg, for instance, might be riding a wave of popularity because of his popularity in the two debates so far screened, but I've also seen him involved in other discussion programmes where he's been faced by an audience of ordinary voters - he hasn't looked so good. He seemed easily flustered when put under pressure and incapable of defending his policies when faced with persistent questioning.

But perhaps my greatest problem with these debates is the way in which the media insists upon proclaiming one or other of the candidates as a 'winner' after each one. It's all part of their apparent desire to turn the whole political process into some kind of tawdry talent contest. It wouldn't be so bad if they were using any kind of objective and consistent criteria in order to decide upon a 'winner'. Looking at today's newspapers, it is quite clear that the Tory press, (which, realistically, is most of Fleet Street), are going to declare Cameron the victor, regardless of what actually happened in the debate. Quite frankly, yesterday he could have whipped out his penis, masturbated in Adam Boulton's face and taken a dump on live TV, and the likes of the Sun would still be praising him for his innovative approach to debating and the fact that he'd blown away Brown and Clegg by showing that he had a bigger dick. The level to which the reporting of these debates is being manipulated was made clear last night, by the way in which the headline in the Murdoch-owned and Tory supporting Times changed, within an hour from 'Neck and Neck', to declaring Cameron the outright winner. Hopefully, the electorate won't be so gullible as to swallow this cobblers.

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