miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am writing this as I listen to John Humphries pretend to interrogate the prime minister. Humphries asks questions in an aggressive way, he talks over Cameron, he words things provocatively... but he still lets Cameron avoid giving a single proper answer. Cameron is at this very second saying how he needs to address the big questions and not duck them while ducking Humphries' questions. It's show business for Cameron, because he gets to tell everyone he's submitted himself to a grueling Humphries interrogation; but it's also show business for Humphries because he gets to appear to be the fearless interviewer, speaking truth to power. It's all bollocks. Both Cameron and Humphries are dancing a choreographed dance around pre-determined limits, and neither of them strays for a nanosecond from the formal pattern.

David Cameron and George Osborne have both visited Calderdale more than once in this campaign. Nobody knew they were coming before they came except for the press and a select few in their own party and a few council officers. Each event was carefully stage managed. No ordinary people were to be allowed anywhere near. No inconvenient questions were to be asked. And it's not just the tories - Labour and my own party are as bad. Every top rank politician lives in abject terror of a Gillian Duffy Moment, so they allow the party machines to collude with the press in the Battle Bus culture in which pre-selected journos go to stage-managed photo calls in which only the most photogenic and meek ordinary people are even allowed into the building.

This isn't how politics should be. For a very few politicians it's not how it IS - people like Tessa Munt and David Ward haven't gone very far down this rabbit hole. But since being in government our leadership and leading figures have swallowed that this way of behaving is the way to do it - certainly it applied when Vince Cable came to Halifax. It's all so fake, and people can see it's fake, but when they tell politicians they detest the fakery politicians just stage-manage things all the harder.

And this, by the way, is yet another reason why Nicola Sturgeon is doing well this election - she has let the great unwashed come near, unlike any of the Westminster leaders.

Frankly, I don't care what either of the Labservative parties do because they are both as bad as each other, but I really really wish my party would stop doing this shit. And I swear to you, gentle reader, that I will do everything I can within the party to stop it happening.

If we can't have discussions with any ordinary member of the public, we don't deserve political success, and if a Gillian Duffy Moment happens, if we can't deal with THAT we don't deserve political success either. A politician who has to be insulated from people who disagree with him unless they are carefully stage managed is no politician at all.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 08:04 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
My partner is a pharmacist. Our local Liberal member (a total party stooge, parachuted in from the city) came into the shop talk about how he was great for small business and she promptly buttonholed him on same-sex marriage, since she and I still can't get married. He couldn't get out of there fast enough. I heard later that the kids at the high school interrogated him about the same issue, good on them. There's been a sudden upswing in independent candidates with a high local profile taking seats, which I suspect is why he came in for the second time in 10 years, but I think he regretted it.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 08:16 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I think this MP's issue is also that he doesn't actually think for himself or disagree with anything, so there's nothing he really can say. All he does is issue party statements that someone in Canberra wrote. We have the grave misfortune of being a safe seat that used to be the seat of a Prime Minister (Malcolm Fraser) and thus ever since party-loyalist numpties have been dumped here. In the next electorate over, there's a terrific Liberal member who actually has opinions and stands up for them. Of course, she's the one in the marginal seat!

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 08:42 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I've been having to avoid Radio 4 like I'm avoiding Twitter, lately. Which is weird and hard for me, but so worth doing; every time I cave and switch it on something depressing or enraging is said in a matter of seconds and thus my resolve is strengthened again.

Oh well. I've got plenty of podcasts to see me through until the radio is safe(r) again.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 09:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
I had to start avoiding Radio 4 in 2012, having been a devoted listener for most of the previous decade, when it suddenly lurched off to the right. But I found that Radio 4 Extra wasn't a bad substitute - no politics unless it's funny, a News Quiz that's 50% longer, and they do at least warn you if the "classic comedy" is going to be APPALLINGLY insensitive about something. It's compressed to hell, though - 80kbps MP2 - and I only found it because I had a DAB radio for Radio 4 anyway (FM reception is lousy here).

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 10:22 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I've got a DAB radio too, so these days it gets used exclusively for 4 Extra and cricket. (And Cerys on Sunday mornings, of course!)

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
I really must sample 6 Music occasionally; I constantly listen to music, but on half a dozen very specialised online streams rather than anything airwavey. I'll try and remember on Sunday mornings :)

Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2015 08:05 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
It really is worth a try. My husband's the same for constantly having music playing and yet being totally uninterested in radio...and even he enjoys Cerys's Sunday morning show now that I've introduced him to it.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 10:19 am (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
yet another reason why Nicola Sturgeon is doing well this election - she has let the great unwashed come near, unlike any of the Westminster leaders.


Bingo.

I only found out that the PM was in our constituency because I happened to pick up the Metro on a train the day after. That's ridiculous.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (redlightdoor)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
I've had Boris, Gideon, *and* Call Me Dave giving speeches within 500 metres of my front door over the last two months.

None of them advertised their presence, it's almost as if they didn't want me to hear what they had to say.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
It's as if they think it's more important to be seen going all over by the press than to actually do it for any tangible reason. Which does raise the question of why the press aren't calling them on the bullshit... unless it's become self-reinforcing, and the press are now so universally despised that they only want to talk to politicians?

ed. also, do we know if they actually did visit any of the places in question? can we be sure it wasn't all just a mock-up in front of a green screen?
Edited Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 09:15 pm (UTC)

Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
Heh. I was wondering before posting the edit whether I should say "like the moon landings", but... I didn't know whether or not that would be read in the intended "I'm kidding about this... kinda" way.

(Although I always thought that the simplest explanation for the whole "the moon landings were faked!" thing was that the photos they took on the moon didn't come out, and they needed photos for publicity, so they had to plan-B it as best they could...)

Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2015 07:33 am (UTC)
nickbarlow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nickbarlow
We had a visit from the Gidiot yesterday, where they sealed off the delivery van section of Asda for him and the local candidate to spend two minutes putting boxes on vans for the camera, then he was back off up the A12.

I'd love it if Clegg had said to the press on his bus that they had to watch him knocking on doors for an hour or two every day, but he seems to have done exactly the same as the others. The problem is that after a couple of weeks of it, you could see how bored the media were getting of the whole charade, and I think everyone needs to work out a better way of running campaigns for the next election. Problem is that there are loads of people whose jobs depend on doing things the way they've always (well, since about 1983, at least) been done.

My favourite VIP visit was when Simon Hughes came up during one of our local election campaigns with several carloads full of Southwark activists and was genuinely impatient to get out on the doorstep. He was late arriving, of course, but that just proved it was the real Hughes.

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