The longest TV election night in UK history now reaches its 96th hour. Have they allowed David Dimbleby some sleep? Judging by his appearance at the hurriedly arranged 8.30 pm BBC1 Election special, he’s had a few hours kip.
But under the hallowed unwritten UK constitution it’s actually a requirement that a Dimbleby remains on TV until a new government is formed. It’s going to be a long night.
You guys all wanted a hung parliament – and this is what it’s like. We’re watching the formation of a Government in slow-mo, something that usually happens in just a few hours on the early hours of a Friday morning after the polls close.
But you’ve got to admit these are great, dramatic political events. Today (Monday) perhaps the best of all as Gordon Brown shifted the dynamic once more with his resigning as leader, but remaining PM. It’s one of the great features of that same unwritten UK constitution that we can do this – “I’m resigning as leader, but I’m still in charge of the country”. Beleaguered leaders elsewhere must see this as a pretty neat trick.
General Election Night, usually the time of highest drama as MPs fall and rise, now feels like the phony war. There was no Portillo moment then. But I think we’ve had it now, with Gordon falling on his sword outside No 10. But “were you back home in time for Gordon?”, sadly doesn’t have the same ring to it. Continue reading
Funnily enough it was the sight of Nick Clegg in his orangey-red tie that reminded me of the sublime Paul Gross.
Given a choice, I would take my favourite Canadian over the Lib Dem leader any day of the week (and twice on Sundays…)
Of course, there’s one big red reason we know Paul Gross on this side of the pond: Due South – one of the best things about the nineties as far as I’m concerned. If you haven’t seen it, get the DVD boxed sets right now.
I can’t always be counted on to lust after the conventionally handsome – but in this case, I suspect most women (and men) will see where I’m coming from. And that’s before we even get to the Mountie uniform…
As Benton Fraser, he’s moral without being sanctimonious, gorgeous without a hint of vanity (he is blithely and wonderfully unaware of the effect he has on the women he meets); and he’s funny too. (Gross is an actor who can do deadpan, irony and slapstick equally brilliantly.)
Fraser’s best friend is a deaf, lip-reading wolf. His other best friend is a stereotypical American cop (well mostly – Due South loved to play with US/Canadian stereotypes and cliches). He’s completely loyal to them both. He’s smart and brilliantly adapts all his outback tradecraft (not to mention the skills learned from his grandparents – travelling librarians from Tuktoyaktuk) to fight crime. And he gets terribly lonely too. What is not to love? And did I mention the uniform?
I adored Due South – Benton, Diefenbaker, the Vecchios, the playful writing – but most of all I adored Paul Gross. And, can you really blame me?
Posted by Jo the Hat
I felt rather forced into watching the election debate last night by my other half, who accused me of not paying enough attention to the biggest decision this country has faced in a long time. Actually, I know all about making decisions. I am in the middle of making one right now. It’s getting warmer and it’s time to decide… will it be Gladiator sandals, flip flops or ballet pumps this summer? Anyway, I decided to show him I could take an interest in the Live Debate and besides, I love anything with Ant and Dec hosting.
After I had recovered from the initial disappointment that Ant and Dec weren’t hosting and that the audience weren’t allowed to boo anything they didn’t like, I started to listen to what these three men were saying. My husband asked if I even knew the names of the party leaders, which of course I do. David Cameron reminds me of my slimy Geography teacher; Nick Clegg looks like the dishy bloke who sold me my Renault Clio… crook… (car man not Nick Clegg); Gordon Brown looks like Crazy Bob from the pub who sings karaoke in his slippers. So now I have proved I know who they are, I feel I can comment on their policies and give my opinion on them.
To show I take an interest, I had a read of the campaign posters in the city on my way to Primark (jeggings £3). I must say though, I don’t think those with a picture of Gordon Brown’s face and the words “I took millions of pounds from pensioners last year, let me do it again” is a very good slogan for someone wanting to be Prime Minister again. Then after seeing the news from Rochdale on Wednesday, I realised he really does have it in for pensioners doesn’t he?
Last week there were discussions about Foreign Policies. Well I think we should deal with our own policies before we start bothering about theirs. So what did tonight’s debate have in store?
Tax Credits were mentioned, but no one seemed to admit if they were going to cut them, keep them or abolish them. I think the question that should be asked about tax credits is how do you fill in the huge and very complicated form correctly, so that in a month’s time they don’t ask for the money back, because (like me) you filled it in wrong and told them you had 13 children?
Would Cleggmania continue to ride rampant over what he would persistently call the “old parties”, or would his bubble burst as the electorate woke up from a seven-day bender wondering what the hell they ever saw in him? In practice, neither. This was closer to being the difficult second album which can’t have the wow factor of the first but certainly isn’t a flop.
Overall this was therefore more of a score-draw – with Clegg unable to sustain the hysteria of Leaders 1, Cameron getting more to grips with the format, and Gordon Brown hanging on in there. And that in itself is a mark of how much seismic change these debates have delivered for UK politics.
The fact that we can see it as a pretty normal outcome to have all the parties sitting on around 30%+ is remarkable. If this sustains through to 6 May this will be something that has seriously not happened in our lifetimes (assuming you don’t count the weird Labour suicide-note politics of 1983). You see even I am getting carried away.
Clegg being stationed in the middle this time round often got squeezed and picked on, and from time to time got sucked in to the old adversarial politics (or politics as you and I would call it) which he successfully derided last time. It’s hard to be an outsider when you’re front and centre.
Cameron by contrast benefited from being able to stand off to one side and distance himself, seeking to peg the other two together. Indeed they all tried this, with Gordon’s slightly naff pre-prep line of “you’re like my two boys squabbling at bathtime”. While that neatly re-cast the youth of both opponents as inexperience, it conjured up a pretty weird image of a large paternalistic Gordon looming over a naked Nick and Dave in the bath. At least it did for me. Continue reading
I know it looks like I’m jumping on the post-debate bandwagon here, but what’s actually the case is that I’ve decided to come out of the orange-tinted closet. I’m a bit nervous about saying it out loud, but the truth is: I quite fancy Nick Clegg.
Mr Inkface can testify, albeit with a grumpy face, that my pre-debate comment was ‘That Nick Clegg is a sexy dark horse you know’. Don’t know if it’s the half Dutch, or part Russian genes, or the fact that he’s multilingual (one can only hope that being a cunning linguist is a generally encouraging sign in a man).
But he seems to have good taste in women. In my opinion, his wife, the lovely lawyer Miriam González Durántez is by far the most interesting and attractive partner of the three current party leaders. She seems her own rather smart woman. No smarming for the cameras, and no sign of their three young sons as election props. Nice that she’s kept her own name too.
Yes I too shuddered at Clegg’s thirty sexual partners or more faux pas. He’s certainly not a Clinton-esque league Mr Smooth. But he’s intelligent, egalitarian, nicely tall and really rather attractive. He knocks Cameron and Brown into a cocked hat.
Yes I would, actually.
See here for more high-brow political commentary on the leaders’ debate
Posted by Inkface
Well there it was. TV history in the making. It was exciting just for the fact it happened. Even if nothing really did happen. There was no “you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment. No zinger from one candidate which turned the election. No sweaty Nixon pallor. That may still be to come.
Each of the three party leaders was incredibly controlled: over 90 minutes none of them appeared to put a physical step wrong. No arrogant rolling of the eyes. No weird facial gestures. No checked watches. Indeed it makes you wonder how the US Presidential candidates have got it so wrong in the past.
Gordon Brown didn’t chew his nails. David Cameron didn’t sing the Eton Boating song. Nick Clegg didn’t freeze with fright at being in the playground with the big boys.
All of them had clearly practised the same approach – it was show not tell. Play out the anecdote of the latest school you’ve visited. The latest nurse you’ve spoken to. The latest crime victim you’ve salivated over.
But there was at least a clear winner: as with “Ask the Chancellors” this was the Lib Dems. So far, so predictable. But predictable only to those who thought about it for 5 minutes in advance.
To around 90% of the audience tuning in, the fact that Nick Clegg was even the same size as the other two was probably the biggest surprise. Schooled on the David Steel perceptions of politics, we expected the Lib Dem leader to be about 2′ 6″. Continue reading