‘Calling now because I want to watch the Three Wise Men later’. Sorry, who?
Why didn’t I recognize our three prospective leaders as wise? Are they wise? Can we trust their judgment? The question today was who are you?
In a campaign dominated by non-committal manifestos and ‘ooo but look what he did’ responses, it’s no wonder we don’t trust what they say. Yet millions of Brits still tuned in to hear it. Why?
It’s partly because there’s little difference between their policies, but it’s also because if no-one believes what they say, the only thing we have to go off is personality. This is exactly the climate that could foster a television debate: it has brought our leaders out of their expensive tourist destination (I mean, Parliament) and into the voter’s front room. Now that politicians are more accountable to the people than ever before, the Prime Minister’s character is of the utmost importance.
It’s no longer enough that we see the leaders smiling and shaking hands. A televised debate gives us the whites of their eyes. With his sharp looks, David Cameron acted the part of the revolutionary, angry on behalf of the parent and the soldier. Nick Clegg adopted a soft and compassionate demeanor, speaking straight down the camera to the viewer.
But in an election hinged on character, Gordon Brown, -looking his age against his young rivals – is going to have to loose the tone of Prime Minister. The voters want to know Gordon.