Friday, 16 April 2010

We Owe David Icke An Apology

Doubtless you are all desperately wondering what I thought of last night's debate.

For a while there, my answer was going to be a colossal shrug. Sure, Clegg did well at not seeming like a student union president invited by mistake, Brown at not seeming like a violent ambulatory fridge, and Cameron at not seeming like a threat to all human life across the UK and beyond, but whilst these facts might make the post-game analysis interesting, the debate itself left me thoroughly disinterested. I had thought that there had been nothing of any note throughout.

But this is not the case! Thanks to my elite team of statistical investigators (also known as Chuck), I can reveal the dark heart of ITV's attempts to subliminally effect your voting preferences. Observe the travesty. The disgrace. The betrayal.

Still confused? Still mercifully unaware of the message imprinted in your unsuspecting brains? Check out those six sets of coloured posts, my friends! Six sets, three colours; that's one permutation each. An eminently fair way to represent the three parties, surely?

Yet this is not how ITV rolls
. What we actually see are two copies of yellow-blue-red and red-blue-yellow, and one each of yellow-red-blue and blue-yellow red. In other words, yellow is first three times, red twice, and blue only once.

Can the message be any clearer? Well, I think it could be, because I bet you're all "Wow! This is clearly an attempt to bias in favour of the Liberal Democrats!"

Nothing could be further from the truth! Literally nothing! Were you able to create a distance measure by which two statements could have their relative lengths from the truth compared, your pathetic theory would prove more distant from the shining singularity known as fact (FACT!) than such comments as "The moon is made of cheese" or "Cast are a distinctly above-average band". Your feeble hypothesis regarding this situation is based on that most obvious of errors: you are reading left to right.

Want to know who didn't read left to right? The Israelites.

You see the truth now, don't you? At long last, after so many decades skulking in the shadows, the international Jewish conspiracy has struck, and it wants you to ignore the Liberal Democrats! They know that as long as Nick Clegg is haunting the halls of Downing Street, their plan to fire Israel into space and attach death rays to its underside will never happen!

Is that what you want, huh? Living in the shadow of the Greater Space-Israel, constantly terrified your house will be obliterated because the budget has increased duty on bagels? To be seized by the drop pod borne robo-Mossad for daring to suggest Topol wasn't the best thing about Flash Gordon? Then vote for the other guys. Whatever.

Just remember that you were warned.


BigHead said...

Cast are better than Nick Clegg. Fact.

Tomsk said...

I'll refrain from passing judgement on ITV's conspiracy, but I have to disagree with you on the colossal shrug.

The first surprise to me was that they weren't nearly as boring as I and everyone else was expecting. The rules which appeared so suffocating on paper actually worked quite well in practice, certainly giving a more interesting contest than the chancellors' debate did. Perhaps the party strategists took note of how boring that was and told the leaders to go for it with more vigour, but it was still important that the rules didn't stand in the way of to-and-fro discussion. The lack of any audience participation also helped, as it prevented the leaders from playing to the gallery and ensured that canned one-liners fell flat (if only the same rules could be applied to Prime Minister's Questions). Finally, when it did get boring, I could always fall-back on making snarky comments on Twitter.

The second surprise is the near-universal praise for Nick Clegg's performance. I had bought into the conventional wisdom that the Lib Dems would do well from getting an equal platform, but I don't think anyone was expecting them to do quite this well. I'm not convinced this is entirely due to his performance - it was certainly very good, but not overwhelmingly better than the others. Clearly part of the reaction is from the increased exposure. He presented himself well as the plucky outsider, denouncing the 'pass the parcel' governments of the modern era. To be perceived as winning the debate on top of that makes for a great story for the press, so much so that even the likes of the Times and Telegraph are handing him victory this morning.

The question now is how much of a boost this will give the Lib Dems in the polls. The audience figures are very encouraging: 9.4m, compared to 8m for Coronation Street beforehand. Plus the news is saturated with postmortems. I'd be disappointed if this didn't put them up a couple of points in the polls in the next day or two. The question after that is whether Clegg can keep the momentum going through the next two debates. But for now the dream of a hung parliament suddenly feels a lot more real.

Lynda said...

Tomsk - Comcast's voting intentions of the viewers, adjusted for all the non-viewers (i.e. what a new poll done right now might show) is LDs up to 24% from 22% yesterday (post manifesto) and 20% on Tuesday.

And can I just say - I speculated about this very outcome 2 weeks back (Cable on top followed by Clegg on top) on this very blog and I'm pleased that the media have been graceful enough to acknowledge it and not pretend it didn't happen.

Tomsk said...

The first proper post-debate poll has just come out from YouGov:

CON 33%(-4), LAB 28%(-3), LDEM 30%(+8).

I'll say it again: nobody, but nobody expected them to do quite this well. :)