This is the first in a series of LTW election specials. We will invite most parties and persuasions to write a column for us. We know our readers are way too smart to be told who to vote for and we are not ramming any agenda down your throat but you are welcome to comment and debate and even write a column for us.
The Debate is everything.
I was away last week in Estonia and missed the big Paxman interview with David Cameron and Ed Milliband. A political pugilist moment when the gloves came off for the first real flare up of the countdown to the most confusing and open election in UK history.
All I got was the media detritus and the perception that it was, at the best some kind of nil nil draw and that the hapless Ed had done really well by not being awful but the adman cad Cameron had shaded won the debate. This, of course, was the perception of the poison pens of the national press who still run scared of the dread reds under the beds so I should have known better than wallow in their opinion but had little choice.
The general vide seemed to be that the snake-oil of the PM had triumphed over the bumbling geek speak of Ed Milliband who was fumbling his cuffs as the head prefect took control and positioned the Tories into the driving seat for the next election. The strutting triumphalism of the media was a tad ugly and even in Parliament last week it was all doom and gloom from some of the Labour rank and file and the most optimistic muster was that a hung Parliament was the best possible result.
Oddly, though, Labour have leapt into 4 point lead in the opinion polls directly as a result of the great debate and looking at it now, on my return to Blighty, it seems a very different affair than reported.
Silly old me, I should have remembered that there is a mainstream media agenda to crush the awkward Labour leader and down his party in one fell swoop – Ed Milliband may be one of those people who seem to shrink on the box which is odd as I saw him once perform at Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament and he was oddly convincing and brimming with the passion that he is so often accused of lacking in his uber nerd like TV version of himself.
It’s this passion that is slowly beginning to emerge in the nick of time with promises to dismantle the Murdoch media empire and other hints that the ‘Red Ed’ may actually exist to the terror of the press barons.
The debate and it’s alpha male battle of the rutting, well groomed stags on the TV has thrown up so many mixed messages that you can see why Cameron is running scared from the big TV debate. This is odd as he was always presented as the man who born to strut around TV studios with a robotic conference and the bully’s eye for a knock out blow. Sat in-between them was former TV hero Jeremy Paxman who was once loved by many until his true political leanings leaked out when he retired.
In the full glare of modern media and the cruellest of mediums that turns men into midgets and the truth into small slogans awkward Ed seems to have quietly triumphed even with getting beaten with the stick of his own brother’s media prowess. In a time when dribbling trivia like how you eat a sandwich seems to be more important than what you actually talk about, Ed Milliband has been drowning in a media radioactive glare but with a bit more spittle inflected passion and sticking to his guns he may be about to overcome the PR and spin groomed Prime Minster and in a celeb obsessed modern UK where how you talk is more important than what you say and how you operate in a TV studio seems to be more important than what you do he may just end being the winner.