Bienvenues des Francaises!

After the debate, I was tickled to see my hit counter had gone bananas today. What on earth happened? – I wondered. It turned out that dear old Le Monde had linked to my Bigotgate post. Bless them:

Incident démocratique Grâce au “Bigotgate” on va enfin pouvoir discuter (Liberal Burblings)

Le blog Liberal Burblings se moque de la campagne telle qu’elle a été dépeinte jusqu’à l’incident du “Bigotgate”. Il décrit les directs interminables où l’on voit Gordon Brown demander aux gens ce qu’ils achètent au supermarché. Réponse ? “De la nourriture.” Edifiant. “Rien de démocratique dans tout ça”, écrit Liberal Burblings. Et puis voilà soudain Mme Duffy et “enfin une vraie interaction”, souffle le blog.


Liveblogging the #leadersdebate

I will be live blogging the leaders debate here.

6:21:41 PM: It is good that the pressure is on Brown tonight, rather than Clegg, as per last week. #leadersdebate
7:43:53 PM: Liveblogging the #leadersdebate

7:56:04 PM: Expecting Cameron to make great play of immigration #leadersdebate

8:56:04 PM: Expecting Cameron to make great play of immigration #leadersdebate

9:04:44 PM: Once again, in the interests of research (of course ;-)), I will be listening to part of the debate on the radio. #leadersdebate

9:19:05 PM: Brown has an odd knack of doing better in times of crisis. Its on the easy things he seems to struggle.-AlainSucrose

9:30:37 PM: Ooh I could crush a grape #leadersdebate

9:34:24 PM: Excellent opening statement from Clegg #leadersdebate

9:35:52 PM: Nerves showing with a stammer each from Cameron and Brown in the opening statements #leadersdebate

9:36:24 PM: 11th word from Cameron was “change” – someone has just won the Channel Four sweepstake #leadersdebate

9:36:44 PM: Excellent set – very impressive – well done BBC #leadersdebate

9:37:37 PM: Brown still can’t get his eyelines right.We should allow for his disability- but is it that difficult to look at a red light? #leadersdebate

9:39:09 PM: Clegg already ahead 45% in C4 poll – Cam 15, Brown 35 #leadersdebate

9:39:48 PM: Excellent point from Clegg about the coming together of parties to decide on deficit reduction #leadersdebate

9:40:32 PM: Good point from Borwn. £6 billion cut now would be insane #leadersdebate

9:41:01 PM: Loads of Tory councils send out glossy leaflets!!! #leadersdebate

9:42:35 PM: Clegg well on top in Guardian rolling poll #leadersdebate

9:43:29 PM: Excellent passion from Clegg #leadersdebate

9:45:10 PM: ‘Save government waste’. Cameron – that means less jobs in the public sector #leadersdebate

9:45:38 PM: Clegg is doing brilliantly #leadersdebate

9:59:36 PM: Cameron was completely outwitted on inheritance tax. He avoidf answering the point repeatedly #leadersdebate

10:01:00 PM: Cameron took a major hit on inheritance tax and fairness #leadersdebate

10:02:28 PM: Cameron seems too interested in point scoring #leadersdebate

10:04:52 PM: This is a brilliant debate #leadersdebate

10:10:55 PM: Cameron’s face seems to be melting – even on the radio #leadersdebate

10:10:55 PM: Cameron’s face seems to be melting – even on the radio #leadersdebate

10:16:21 PM: Is it me or has it got a bit boring #leadersdebate

10:20:21 PM: I do hope that #bigotgate won’t lead to the bovinisation of the lmmigration debate #leadersdebate

10:23:26 PM: Does dumblebore really have to repeat the question for the third time? #leadersdebate

10:25:18 PM: So cameron comes back for another pasting on the ‘amnesty’ #leadersdebate

10:27:56 PM: Clegg deals brilliantly with cameron on ‘amnesty’ #leadersdebate

10:34:34 PM: Watch the Leaders’ debate LIVE here

10:42:46 PM: The Tories had the toughest minister, Peter Lilley, in charge of benefits and even he didn’t do what Cameron is on about

10:45:06 PM: Brown was obviously coached to say “It’s the same old Tories” 4,599 times #leadersdebate

10:48:08 PM: Channel 4 poll: Clegg 42, Brown 43, Brown 14 #leadersdebate

10:48:37 PM: Cameron is so vacuous #leadersdebate

10:51:52 PM: Cameron wheels out the pre-baked cack #leadersdebate

10:52:28 PM: Phonics? That’s really hands-off government isn’t it? #leadersdebate

10:56:40 PM: YouGov say Cameron won …only joking

10:57:54 PM: Cameron’s big themes seem to change on a daily basis. Now it’s the vulnerable all of a sudden #leadersdebate

11:00:32 PM: Brown makes some good points against Cameron in his closing statement #leadersdebate

11:15:02 PM: Unbelievable spin from Mandelson #leadersdebate

#bigotgate – Seminal moment or fuss and nonsense?

I suspect it is a seminal moment.

I know when something has hit a nerve of the national psyche when I receive three calls from non-political friends in two minutes, gleefully telling me of the newsflash. I was just getting into the shower at the gym when I took one of them…I know – too much information.

Talking of the gym, all this week I have watched there endless Sky and BBC News 24 live coverage of Brown going round supermarkets and streets. The coverage has been all the same. Gordie smiling beatifically, Sarah right by his side, lovely friendly remarks to surprised passers-by or shoppers:

Brown: “Lovely to see you….What are you buying?” Man in Asda: “Er…food” was one exchange in the fresh vegetables section of Bournemouth Asda.

Brown: “Oh”…pointing to a number on a rugby shirt on another shopper…”Do you play rugby?” Guy: “Yes”. Brown: “You must be fit” – flexing his (Brown’s) arm muscles to show what being fit must be like.

….You know the sort of thing. Very boring. Very stage-managed. Lots of security folks. No chance of anything democratic happening like a confrontation. It’s all just “Grateful citizens meet their PM” stuff.

So thank goodness Gillian Duffy had a go at him. At last some real interchange with the populace.

So, Brown was caught out with his radio mike on. He’s obviously never watched “Naked Gun”.

Basic mistake. Lesson one in broadcast training: “If you’re within a mile of a microphone – assume it’s on and it can pick you up”.

Unfortunately for Brown, this is the sort of incident that catches the public’s imagination. PM asking what someone is buying in the Asda vegetables section doesn’t catch Jo Public’s imagination. PM caught with trousers down does.

But it also plays into: Tired PM, Tired government, Angry PM, bullying PM, PM without common touch narratives.

So really, this is the end of Gordon Brown’s Prime Ministerial career. He can’t make it back from here. The Labour polling will be 3 points down tomorrow.

Hard cheese Gordie!

Oh…you ask about the issues. Ah yes. The economy. Health. Education. Cleaning up politics. That sort of thing. Errr…..crikey. I’d forgotten about them.

UPDATE: Bit of a mistake for Gordie to let himself be video’d talking to Jeremy Vine with his head in his hands. Gordie ought to ask John Major what happened to him when he smoothed his hair in his hands before speaking at the City of London dinner. That image will haunt Gordie forever more, I am afraid.

A very good case for Tom Bradby to be added to the Slapometer

That’s this Slapometer.

Well, for goodness sake, just read this unmitigated pig manure:

…the beauty of the first past the post system is that it gives voters a direct link with their MP. If you don’t like him, or her, you can sling him out, regardless of national swing or anything else. If you want him to vote against a particular issue (the Iraq War, say) you can lobby him to do so. The idea that our response to the expenses system should be to break this link and create a new class of MPs who are shoved in on a party list and owe no allegiance to anyone but their party leader is somewhat bizarre.

After reading this, I had to check what I was reading. Hello? Which “Tom Bradby” is this the “blog” of? Is this some knee-jerk, ignorant right-wing ranting blogger who couldn’t give a monkey’s about the facts writing a little hobby blog? Some punter with a PC and a £4.99 a month dial-up connection who just happens to have the same name as the leading political correspondent on the nation’s leading commercial broadcaster?

It can’t, surely, actually be the actual blog of the leading political correspondent of the nation’s leading commercial broadcaster, can it? I mean, the actual Tom Bradby, as opposed to a ‘Tom Bradby’?

Good grief! It actually is the actual, genuine blog of the actual Tom Bradby.

What came over him? This respected journalist wrote the above paragraph. Ranting polemic based on total, mind-blowing ignorance. And it says “BRINGING FACTS TO LIFE” at the top of his blog, in big letters. Crikey! Bringing ignorant, lazy assumption to life, more like.

Before writing that Grade One Cack, would it have been too much to ask for Tom Bradby to click his laptop twice to read the Electoral Reform web site?:

Single Transferable Vote

No electoral system is perfect. Some, however, are more perfect than others.

We believe that where candidates are being elected to multiple vacancies, STV offers voters the best and most effective choice.

What is STV?

STV uses preferential voting in multi-member constituencies. Each voter gets one vote, which can transfer from their first-preference to their second-preference and so on, as necessary…

Oh look Tom. There it is in one sentence. Note the word “candidates”. It doesn’t say “parties” or “party lists” or “party names” but “candidates”. You can have a system which allows voters the utmost choice of candidate – yes a candidate – not a party list. And you have multi-member constituencies. Yes, just like most of the country who have multiple councillors in their ward. Yes, Tom. So people know who their representatives are and can nail them. But, even better, they have a choice of who to nail.
Is it too much to ask to have a little bit of research done by the chief political correspondent from our leading commercial broadcaster?