So, we’ve had a whole weekend to digest and reflect on the first political parties leaders debate held last Thursday, and you know what, I’m worried. But not for the reason you might think.
I don’t believe I’ve ever actually stated my political leanings on this blog, although I’m sure regular readers will have an inkling which side of the divide I fall from the tone of my posts or from reading my tweets (if you follow me on twitter). But regardless, I’m not worried because the party I ‘support’ (and I use that term in the flimsiest sense of the word) came out badly. Frankly, I couldn’t care less who ‘won’ and ‘lost’.
No, I’m more worried by the reaction in the media and in the country.
Firstly, the more I hear about and read comment on the debate, the more I think I must have been watching a different broadcast. And secondly, I’m worried that the populace of this country is so fickle, and so feeble minded, that they are willing to change who they plan to vote for on the strength on one television appearance – especially when there are two more to go.
Let’s deal with the first point, shall we? The problem I have with the media reaction to the debate is probably more a reflection of my current distaste for ‘old media’ than anything to do with the debate. The media went into the debate looking for a ‘winner’ – someone they could proclaim and build up, probably with the intention of knocking them down again later on.
I, on the other hand, went into the debate looking to see if I could be persuaded by the arguments.
The media seemed very excited by one man looking in the camera, putting his hand in his pocket and appearing to be ‘relaxed’. I, on the other hand, was listening to what they said rather than how they said it. I think all three leaders made some good points but the two who I wasn’t inclined to vote for before the debate, didn’t say anything during it that changed my mind.
It was an interesting debate, but honestly, I don’t think I learned anything from it that I haven’t already learned in the past few months.
Which is where my second worry comes in. Apparently, (if you believe the media) a huge portion of the population was so impressed with this ‘Clegg bloke’, who they had never seen or heard from before, they they are now willing to vote for him.
Let’s just break that down, shall we? Firstly, Nick Clegg has been leader of the LibDems for some time now – how can you not know who he is? Do you really take that little notice of what’s going on in the country? And secondly, you’re really willing to vote for someone because he smiled a lot and remembered people’s names? Seriously?
Lord help us.
And it gets worse. I read an article online yesterday (sorry, can’t remember where and I’m at work not on my home PC so can’t look in my history) that claimed that most of those people who have ‘changed’ their vote to the LibDems after the debate, don’t actually agree with the party’s policies when told what they are.
Lord help us.
And we’ve got two debates to go. So does this mean that if Cameron ‘wins’ the next one, all those fickle voters will change their minds again? Or if Brown gets a haircut and learns how to smile without looking like he’s about to eat your children, will people suddenly want to vote for him instead?
The problem, it seems to me, comes back to the media and their ‘need’ to wrap up complex issues in a three minute report and some fancy on-screen graphics. It’s been said that we as a people have developed a short attention span and can’t cope with in-depth analysis. Who’s fault do you think that is? Jeremy Kyle’s?
You know, I’m beginning to hope beyond hope that whatever the result of the election on May 6th, it’s the exact opposite of what the media predicts. Maybe then they’ll learn. But I doubt it.