British Elections: The Final Count Down

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Ben Cohen
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by Jessica Furst

And so there it was. Debate number three done and dusted. The election
only a week away. And so much has happened this week. Well I say so
much, one major thing has dominated the headlines and that was Gordon
Brown’s clanger with a Rochdale resident, who he called whilst
unknowingly still wearing a live microphone, ‘bigoted’ (and she is – or
maybe was – a Labour voter). And how the media loved it so. They hounded
the poor woman, then Gordon Brown turned his car around to come back
and apologise and now we hear she’ll make £250,000 from selling her
story. Who said Gordon Brown does nothing for people and their money (I
live in South London, Gordon, if you could pop by tomorrow)? And Alex
Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, who tried to take the BBC to court
for not allowing him or anyone from Wales some face time in the debates
(no, surprisingly, it didn’t work).

This debate focused heavily
on the economy (well it was the theme after all). Bankers were bashed,
child credits praised and criticised almost in the same breath, where
the budget cuts will come and where spending needs to be increased, they
even all managed to mention President Obama. But that wasn’t what I was
really watching, mainly because I don’t understand the minutiae of
national economics. These debates are about more than just content.
They’re about body language, tie colour (are they matching their ties
with party colour? If so Nick Clegg has changed the Lib Dems from yellow
to florescent orange and Gordon Brown has decided to make Labour
colours now include polka dots), who calls who by their first name or
their full name (because that makes a huge difference, in case you
weren’t aware) and who uses their hands more. And the smiles were back.
And the eye contact with the camera returned. And how many times Nick
Clegg thought it would be funny/interesting/a point scoring moment to
say how the other two were squabbling (obviously he wasn’t).


Have
these debates really helped the public decide who they will vote for?
Well no, not really, hence the threat of a hung parliament hanging over
the fate of the UK. But the leaders have finally got to grips with what
they are supposed to be doing up there, actually debating; arguing. It
seems there wasn’t an obvious winner.

And we delve back in to the
spin room for the last time; my new favourite place on earth (why
haven’t they let the Daily Banter in? Outrageous). Where politicians and
would-be pundits descend and proceed to spin and turn every comment,
every breath, every blink of an eye as some sort of sign that they are
good/bad/smart/stupid/inept/brilliant/done for.

And the worm is
back. Oh how those little lines that move up and down make me so very
happy (yes, simple things and simple minds). That little worm tells us
so much, or so the BBC would like us to believe. Really it’s just a
little dial given to some floating voters who, while watching the
debate, will rate the leaders as they talk. Personally I would much
rather see this in action during X factor or Britain’s Got Talent (just
to be clear, no we haven’t got any talent unless you include dancing
dogs and I’m not sure if dogs fall under British nationality) and
perhaps link this up to a giant bucket of water that tips on the
contestants. But I digress.

It will be in next week’s election
where exit polls, talking, campaigning and speculation will end. Oh who
am I kidding? It never ends. Never.