Friday, 23 April 2010

Has The World Gone Mad?

I missed the debate last night due to an extended drinking session near London Bridge (two quick tips: if you ever find Honeydew beer on tap, then don't think about ordering anything else, and never turn around on an escalator if you value either your pride of the skin of your elbows), but the Guardian's summation seems pretty closely in line with what I was expecting. Another Clegg win would have been exceptionally welcome, obviously, but Brown and Cameron have had some time to work out how best to deal with the interloper, and from that report it sounds like they've figured it out (of course, if anyone has a different take, feel free to leave it in comments).

What I haven't missed, though, is the increasing number of newspaper headlines discussing, defending or attacking Clegg, including the quite spectacularly vicious "Nazi slur" stunt pulled by the Mail (thanks to Chris B for pointing that one out to me). Partially, this is probably a symptom of the media's ongoing battle with it's crippling ADD problems - Clegg is shiny and new and they can pullhimtobits!!!!! Brutal Snake told me he's concerned that even the positive coverage is simply stage one in another of the wearyingly predictable "set 'em up, knock 'em down" cycles from which the media seem unable to escape, and I can see his point (though personally my own take on Clegg's good press has more to do with people making themselves feel better over the fact that when the chips are down they don't intend to support or vote for him).

But it also feels not unlike an awful lot of people who I hate a great deal are running a little scared these days. I'm not too proud to admit that this pleases me. Those who are running Obama/Clegg comparisons are stretching things by some considerable distance, but in one respect they are genuinely very similar: when the intertubes exploded into a tornado of half-truths, smears and baseless accusations, it was because they were potentially very bad news for some very bad people.


Tomsk said...

Brown and especially Cameron's tactics were simply to out-Clegg Clegg. They all stared into the camera a lot (which got a bit freaky after a while), used audience names, etc., and both came out with their own versions of the 'other two arguing' line.

This time around I agree with the polls which all more or less called it a three-way tie. That in itself is a great result for Clegg, who has now established himself as a leader of equal stature. Very good news for Brown too and relief for Cameron who proved he could play at Clegg's level. Everyone's a winner.

As for the Mail, they presumably use this to generate their headlines.

Tomsk said...

By the way, if you haven't already seen it the Daily Show did a great comparison of the first UK debate with the US style (you can watch it on 4od here - the one shown on Thursday 22nd).

It was noticeable in the first debate how the leaders were trying to ape the US folksy anecdote-y style (particularly Cameron). But not so much in the second debate. Maybe because there were so many jokes about it? I wonder whether they're starting to question all the US coaching they imported and are already moving towards a specifically British style of debate. Hopefully with some better jokes in - imagine how much more fun and unpredictable it would be if a politician in the mould of Boris Johnson or Charles Kennedy were up on the podium.