There's nothing quite like making a gaffe in an election campaign. The off-the-cuff, not thoroughly-thought-through comment that gets picked up by the press and then swirls around the media impervious to all efforts to be put back in the box. But how can you make the best gaffes to guarantee the best headlines? Here are a few examples to follow…
5. Declare War Before You're Even Prime Minister
David Cameron — leader of the Opposition — expressed in leadership debates a desire to retain an independent nuclear arsenal because, "We don't know what is going to happen with Iran, we can't be certain of the future in China?" Because yes, that's what you want to do in an election campaign, suggest that you may want to go to war with a big emerging superpower that happens to have a hundred more warheads than you? The story of David and Goliath usually goes the other way in real life.
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Facebook, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Internet, Labour Party (UK), LGBT, Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, Racism, Twitter, United Kingdom
Last week I mentioned that as a result of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's storming performance on the live televised Leader's Debate (if only as a result of him not being leader of the Conservatives or the Labour Party) that the knives would be out for him.
And with the second leadership debate on air tonight in the UK, that prediction had proved correct.
Most of the main newspapers in Britain are conservative ones — and conservative in the way that make Fox News look like Air America. And, today, all the front pages of all these newspapers, selling millions of copies across the country, have been going to war with Nick Clegg. Waking up to them, his wife might as well have tipped his breakfast in bed over his head (including the scalding coffee) as hand him the papers.
Old warhorse, The Daily Mail led with a front page splash "Clegg Nazi Slur on Britain" and referred to an eight-year-old newspaper article it had unearthed in which Clegg talked of Britain, saying: "A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place." That, however, wasn't good enough for The Mail. It unloaded two further barrels into the Clegg camapign, first alleging that Clegg had accepted payments from donors for his own personal bank account to pay towards a researcher, and then that Hilary Stephenson — Mr Clegg's campaigns and elections director — was responsible for encouraging expenses scams.
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), LGBT, Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, United Kingdom
Evidently there's an election going on in England right now and they're trying to import some tactics from the US. But as Jon Stewart pointed out on last night's Daily Show, the Brits have a long way to go if they want to truly capture the pure uncut shamelessness of American politics. Still, the British have made a lot of progress (with a long "O" sound) since the days not long ago when all elections were decided solely by monocle size.
The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm / 10c.
For quick summaries of recent episodes, be sure to visit Intel's Daily Show in :60 Seconds page.
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), England, Gordon Brown, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrat Party (UK), The Daily Show, United Kingdom, Video
Yesterday I wrote that Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK was a nobody.
That was yesterday. Today he is a somebody.
That's because, last night, the UK held its first-ever live televised debate between leaders of the main political parties. Before last night, it was only ever going to be between the incumbent Gordon Brown and the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats was political padding.
It was a strange day in many ways — earlier a large cloud of volcanic ash had begun to cover the country, grounding all planes. David Cameron couldn't have flown up to the debate even if he'd have wanted to. Still, a lot of hot air covering the country wasn't anything new when it came to politicians. And north they went, to the TV studio that makes Britain's biggest soap opera, Coronation Street, to play their own version of The Weakest Link. No Anne Robinson sadly, she's clearly undergoing surgery for her wink getting out of control.
But over the course of the debate, a nation who hadn’t really given Nick Clegg a vague approximation of the hour — let alone the time of day — sat up and thought "A plague on both those houses; let's have the fellow with the floppy fringe." He received a massive mandate from the audience, whether it was his declaration to remove all income tax from the lowest paid and dumping it on the highest or that he didn't want to abandon immigration all together, who knows.
Although, that he seemed to be a normal guy set against a lumpen, drooling golem interested in army facts and figures on one side and a plastic mannequin who told us he'd met a teenager, a black man and a woman just that day on the other probably didn't hurt.
And no one liked Gordon Brown. We saw the after-debate commentary, with shots of audiences for the first time using those little wheels to express approval or disapproval. And every time Gordon spoke, those wheels hit the floor. It was quite comic.
Gordon insisted that only he could solve the economic problems. Despite also admitting that he helped cause them. He seems to be taking a "I broke it, I bought it" approach. David Cameron started off by apologising for the expenses scandal that rocked the country, though no one it seemed had asked him to, which made you wonder — like one would with a child who becomes oddly petulant when an adult walks into the room — what else he was hiding. And his face shone on camera so much that I swear I saw lens flare. Oh, and he also wanted to scrap methadone treatment for heroin addicts.
Against these freaks, Nick Clegg looked okay. And now, it's the day after and people are talking about Nick Clegg as an actual Prime Ministerial candidate as opposed to an afterthought. He might even win something. His rivals are taking him seriously. That we know very little about him probably helps. If nothing else, this debate has given the tabloid newspapers an excuse to delve into his past. Maybe even dig up one or two of those thirty ex-lovers of his…
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Debates, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, United Kingdom
The idea that world leaders might be educated at some of the world's finer institutes of higher education had, at one time, been considered a good thing. But the likes of George Bush put a stop to that.
Now, we like our leaders to be, if not quite as dumb as shit, at least smeared across the face with said shit, preferably from a muddy rural field away from any suspicious higher spires of learning. In the US, this is an exercise in anti-intellectual snobbery that Pol Pot would have been proud of. In Britain, it’s not the anti-intellectual aspect, but the class issue.
As it happens, David Cameron — Leader of the Opposition, head of the Conservative Party and prospective Prime Minister of Great Britain — went to Eton. A private school (known as a "public" school in the UK, in that anyone can go there — if they’ve got the money) of the higher order, which has taught more prime ministers and cabinet members than any others, along with its fair share of archbishops, bankers, newspaper editors and business directors. And for a time, that was fine. Now, however, it’s not.
Tags: Barack Obama, Boris Johnson, Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Indecision Internationale, Tony Blair, United Kingdom