British Elections: The Final Count Down

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.