I listened to the leaders’ debate on Radio 4 last night, so I didn’t get to judge any of the body language. And I’m easily distracted, so I kept reading stuff at the same time and not paying total attention. With those provisos I, like so many others, am going to declare Nick Clegg the winner. His constant referrals to “Sheffield, where I’m MP” grated a little, but it wasn’t as painful as Brown’s laboured attempts at jokes or Cameron’s smarm.
So the Lib Dem leader has gone from “Who?” to a refreshing alternative to the tired other two. Therefore his performance is being attacked by MPs from Labour and the Tories. Tom Harris- whose online persona I quite like, even if he has now slipped into bitchy campaign mode- tries to tell us the debate wasn’t that important after all. Meanwhile John Redwood- who’s unlikeable online or off- tries to throw some mud.
Congratulations to Nick Clegg. He’s got the two main parties worried. Certainly, he’s not going to be Prime Minister, but he could end up holding the balance of power and that’s got Labour and the Conservatives worried.
Tom Harris MP has pointed out the main problem with this election, though I’m not sure that’s exactly what he meant to do. Come May 7th we’ll have to put up with one of two unpalatable leaders. Gordon Brown is the least nauseating of the two, even though he’s not particularly likeable and the party he leads has given us Afghanistan, Iraq, PFIs, multiple useless laws and the Digital Economy Bill. Cameron tries hard to be likeable, but he’s still the leader of the Tory party. Which counts amongst its members people like John Redwood, former Shadow Secretary for the Environment, Transport and the Regions who goes out of his way to suck up to the climate change denier demographic.
So the choice is the devil we know or the devil we don’t want to know. Mr Harris seems to be saying that we can vote for change* all we like, but we’re not going to get any. No wonder so few people vote when the options are put to them in those terms.
*By which I mean actual change, not the Tories “Change” which is just them being on the other side of the chamber.
With an election due soon I thought I should start looking for good British political blogs. I had some fun, found out a lot and worked out some of the background to Sounds of Soldiers through reading US political blogs in the run up to the 2008 election. Perhaps I can do something similar for the UK. A while ago I started adding poliblogs to my Bloglines account and following their updates. Some I’ve been reading since before Christmas, others I haven’t even looked at yet. Here are my impressions of a few of them-
Worst first, I think. I’ve been reading Guy Fawkes’ blog since before Christmas, though it quickly descended into waiting for something worthwhile to read. It hasn’t arrived yet. GFB is a very popular blog, as ‘Guido’ won’t fail to tell you as often as he can. It may have done something to get into that position in the past, but nowadays it’s all about throwing out red meat for his ravenous commenters to rant about. He also has a habit of referring to himself in the third person, which is about right for an obnoxious, self important blowhard. And a dumb one at that, he jumped right on the ‘Climategate’ non-story before Christmas, pretending that the hacked emails somehow negated all the evidence about climate change. I’ll carry on following Guido, but I’m not expecting anything interesting.
And another thing…. is the blog of Tom Harris MP. Unlike Guido, Tom puts some thought into the point of his posts rather than how to score cheap points with them, even if they do occasionally read as if he’s gone through them with an eye for spin. Whilst I don’t agree with many of his points it is nice to see an attempt at communication.
Harry’s Place is full of long, dense posts that probably reward careful reading. It’s just a shame my attention span’s so
Iain Dale is what Guido might be if he wasn’t so desperately trying to impress people. He’s very obviously of the right, and has the occasional point scoring jibe at Labour or the LibDems, but does it with a much lighter touch. You get the feeling that if you were dining with him at Le Caprice the conversation would about something more interesting than how wonderful he thinks he is.
Enough for now. I shall return to this subject again soon. And probably even more until the election.