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.
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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
I have not, until now, said much about Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third most prominent party standing in the UK General Election next month. And that's because… there's just so little to say. He's a man whose greatest claim to fame is that he boasted of thirty lovers in a men's magazine interview.
The Liberal Democrats are often seen as a kind of nothing party with no real reason to exist. Emerging from the classic Liberal Party of the nineteenth and twentieth century that was pushed aside by the socialist movement of the Labour Party, then bolstered by splitters from Labour, its greatest asset is being neither the Conservative nor the Labour party.
It's never going to have enough votes to form a government. Which has given successive leaders the chance to come up with whatever policies they want, safe in the knowledge they'll never have to implement them.
Except this election might be a little different.
Tags: Indecision Internationale, Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, United Kingdom