The Party Leaders debates in this General Election have been many and varied. The conduct of the participants has been low-level and worse than their performances in 2010. In part this can be attributed to the expanded format that includes the smaller political parties, who have taken full advantage of the opportunities to promote themselves and their policies. Unfortunately for the voting public this has not resulted in an informed debate, leaving many questions unanswered or not even asked in the first place. The television channels are to blame for this state of affairs, with their obsession about viewing numbers and ratings. Entertainment is the priority, with the consequence that the debates have more in common with the X-Factor or the Weakest Link. This is compounded by the way studio audiences are chosen and vetted for party affiliation, supposedly to achieve balance but in effect resulting in a bias towards the progressive parties that are in the majority. The debates at their worst, when all seven leaders are present, resemble a staged Hollywood western saloon-room brawl where everyone fights everyone until the last man standing is the exhausted winner.
Cameron and Clegg have absented themselves from most of the debates on the basis that they are the incumbent government and are above the squabbling of the opposition parties. A bit like standing on the ring-side and holding the coats of those fighting, while shouting at those they will never associate with. It is all rather childish. More school-yard than saloon-room. This was very pronounced when the BBC debate ended and the anti-austerity and progressive ladies flocked to the side of Ed Milliband for a group hug, leaving Nigel Farage in isolation and looking neglected. Brave Nigel had protested to teacher Dimbleby that he was being bullied, but to no avail and he was reprimanded for daring to state the obvious.
Where does this leave the state of UK politics? In a poor state and getting worse by the day, with voters suffering fatigue and turning-off! The Northern Ireland political parties didn’t even get an invite to the bash. The new and small parties have been treated with contempt, being restricted to five minutes on the Daily Politics show. In that short time they have been given the chance to talk about their policies, even the Raving Monster Loony Party. Their Leader was able to explain how many of their party policies were similar to UKIP policies, but also about how they differed. He had met Nigel while campaigning and explained this difference as -you kip, we sleep. All good fun!
His reception by Andrew Neill was better than that given to the Leaders of the Christian Party and Christian Peoples Alliance. The contempt was extreme with them being denied five minutes each. They had to share the same slot, this being described as two for the price of one. The interview was conducted by Jo Coburn, while Andrew was disinterested and busied himself on his laptop. This was discourteous, not to say rude. The presence of Matthew Parris, to comment, was obvious as the two parties were questioned about their positions on homosexuality and same sex marriage. They were not invited to expand and explain their other wide-ranging policies. The emphasis was focused on why they were competing against each other? The answer was that they did not stand in the same constituencies, and did not stand against any candidate who had signed up to a declaration of British Christian values. They announced that talks about merging were to take place after the election.
The conduct of the election campaigns of the Conservative and Labour parties has been determined by the import of campaign directors from Australia and the United States. This is a detrimental development, which has added to the downward spiral. It is very un-British, more about playing the man and not the ball. They should be sent-off for ungentlemanly conduct. Associated with this is the import of the political internet trolls. Originating in the US, they are really nasty individuals. So nasty that the political parties disown them, but there is a clear connection – a bit like unleashed attack-dogs. They came to prominence in the first Obama Democrat campaign, with demonic attacks on Sarah Palin.
None of this gives any cause for encouragement for the future. We also have the same old problem of believing what politicians promise. This is even more so with the current crop of young professional politicians. All the main parties are riddled with them. Our main target has been Clueless Calamity Clegg and the discredited LibDems. The sooner they are consigned to history the better. Now we need to target Devious Dave Cameron. The question for this card-sharp to answer is; what policies have you got up your sleeve?
Devious and Clueless; the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of British politics. Will they depart with all guns firing to meet their just deserts? That only happens in Hollywood. The real alternative ending has Devious saying to Clueless, “Lets go”, before pushing him through the door to face the withering volley and death. While Devious escapes through the back-door unscathed and seeks another sucker to team up with. The End.