Friday, 16 April 2010

advanced puppetry?

Like many, I watched the "leaders' debate" yesterday evening, but am not quite sure what to make of it. Puppetry or Politics?

I wonder if Brown and Cameron are quietly spitting nails that they allowed Clegg to get equal airtime and turn into a 'proper person' on television. They probably both realise that the best he can expect is to be co-owner of a shared parliament.

I started watching the debate on normal television, but there seemed to be a slight sound problem, so the speech was ahead of their lips moving, which made it all a bit distracting and not a good advertisement for ITV. When I switched to HD it seemed better, but then I could also see the lip tightening, grimaces and sheen of moisture of the unexpectedly wound up looking Cameron more easily.

We have an American format for the debate, and there was a little clock whirring theoretically offscreen to ensure they were all given equal times for their statements - no doubt in the interests of balance. Perhaps we can make the subsequent shows less like a knockout quiz show.

The Brown 'three - lists' and 'two - lists with a repeat' were fairly evident as was the rather clunky rehearsed mini speeches and the researcher constructed anecdotes about how they's all been chatting with sundry minorities in their extensive time with real people.

I'm not sure whether most of it really informed the debate though. If I read any of the regular newspapers online today I can see long trails of comments from party die-hards re-inventing the dialogue and polemic.

And the mysterious cartel arithmetic of the voting system means that a remarkable swing to another party of at least 12% would be needed for any change from the usual two.

And whether its puppetry or politics, we need to work out who is operating whom.

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