Excited About The TV Election Debates?
Now we know that the election is on its way we can just sit back, relax and enjoy the main event: the TV debates. Television debates are notoriously misleading contests. The first debate between presidential hopefuls in the US took place in 1960 and saw the handsome JFK entrance the nation while Richard Milhous Nixon came across as a paranoid, sweaty maniac who would do all he could to rifle through the trash of every home in America. Famously though, those listening to the same debate on the radio thought Nixon just about edged it.
In this country, television debates have been avoided. Partly they're unfavoured because everyone is terrified about the growing “cult of personality”, but if 2010’s hopefuls are anything to go by, we don’t need to worry about that (ZING!). In fact, a demonic Manson-style cult of personality guy would be a treat. Such a figure has yet to reveal themselves. Here are the three big dogs who'll be taking part.
Old “one eye” would appear to be the obvious loser here. He’s fond of suits that make him look like a bourgeois Edinburgh funeral director, never takes his tie off a la Cameron and could definitely go down the Nixon sweating route. Knowing that the camera only sees the surface, he’s already trying to make his lack of style work for him, implying that looking like shit somehow makes him a man of real substance. Take that, handsome clever guys!
With thoughts of a hung parliament in mind, he refers to Labour’s natural affinity with the Lib Dems with the caveat that Labour aren’t actually a joke third party unlike the Libs, who if he's honest, are the parliamentary equivalent of that Doors album without Jim Morrison. Employs weird inconsistent naming of Cameron designed to make him look stupid: “Mr Cameron”, “Dave” and “David” are all used. Talks about how cruel and posh Eton is. Tells the viewers: “I may punch you in the mouth but Goddamn it I’ll get the job done”. Cries five times, then, lightening the mood, he brings down the house by implying that Blair might make a return to government in a cameo role. There are lots of references to his “close personal friend, Barack Obama.”
Rolled-up shirt sleeves let us know that he’s ready for action, that he can do the tough jobs and that (above all) he’s not a spoilt guy from Eton. His office harasses the producers of the debates until they agree to show at least three cut-aways of Sam Cameron looking cool and adoring. As he gets more and more freaked out about how he’s coming across, his cheeks become redder and redder. Starts to panic when the producer tells him he’s wearing the exact same outfit Blair wore to meet David Frost.
Endlessly repeats mantra about “change”. Makes sure he doesn’t have to talk about any actual policies. Drops the phrase “thirteen years of Labour rule” into as many sections as possible while reminding everyone that all Tories are now officially cool about people being gay and coloured. Refers to Gordon Brown as “the Prime Minister” while trying to inject as much irony as possible into the words. Talks of his “close personal friend, Barack Obama.”
Like Cameron but marginally less sleazy and a lot less recognisable, so his wardrobe needs to make a statement so loud that it stops viewers from asking each other who he is. He could wear an outlandish outfit in a bid to get more time on screen. A bullfighter’s costume done up in the party’s colours or something.
Reminds everyone that he is rolling with Vince Cable. Knowing his party’s chances depend on being part of a coalition, he encourages Brown and Cameron to fight for his love. Manages to outline some actual, coherent policies, before being told by the producer to wrap things up. Everyone starts laughing when he talks of his “close personal friend, Barack Obama.”