My election notes. E-Day – 6
by Pseud O'Nym
With less than a week to go until polling day, last nights debate with the two main party leaders, offered both Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn the chance to set out not only what they thought were the challenges facing Britain, but more importantly, how they planed to best them.
Despite the fact that they were not debating with each other but instead taking questions from the audience, it was nonetheless fascinating for a whole load of reasons.
Firstly, it helped explain why Teresa May hasn’t been willing to debate with other party leaders, people who’d be more informed than a studio audience and might challenge her more. The reason is she’s rubbish at it. Pure and simple. On a news report where there’s a brief clip of her either at the dispatch box, or making a speech, granted, she might seem magisterial and assured. But then again, anyone could. It’s when you see her at length and listen to her and more importantly, watch the way she says it, that one inescapable fact becomes all too apparent.
She reminds me of an evil step-mother trying to be nice to her children. She knows she has to, but her patience is thin. She tries to hide her irritation but her body language screams ‘Do I really have to do this? ‘ At the end, she scarpered off as fast as she could.
Thence came Jeremy. And he was off! This was a seemingly newly invigorated Jeremy Corbyn, speaking like a human being, managing not to let his passion overwhelm the message, but it was clearly there. If a news report can make you look good, it can equally portray you as weak. For quite a few people watching, this version of Jeremy Corbyn it must have been a revelation, at odds with the version that they are spoon fed by most of the media. Here was a man with a quiet dignity, with a grasp of details, and almost looking as if he was enjoying the whole thing
But his energy couldn’t last and it didn’t. He noticeably flagged a bit toward the end and seemed uncomfortable with a series of questions asking variants on the topic of nuclear weapons, specifically under what circumstances he’d use them. His answer was, I think, that if one had to use them then diplomacy had failed and in a nuclear war there’d be no winners.
Rather like the debate itself methinks, given that only 18.2% of the viewing public (3.8 million) watched the whole thing. What are the broadcasters meant to do? When nearly 2/3 of people claim not to have seen any of the debates or interviews with party leaders? Really? They weren’t hidden away in a graveyard slot, they were primetime! There was loads of press speculation about who would or wouldn’t appear.
This didn’t surprise me though, given that at the last election 34.9% of registered voters didn’t leaving the Conservatives triumphant with a 36.9% share. If the public can’t even be bothered to maintain the fiction that they’re somehow engaged with the political process, is it really that much of a shock that the Prime Minister acts the way she does?