Friday, April 16, 2010
An Evening's Knob Twiddling
Knob twiddling is always such fun. Which is why all the TV news channels assembled their own teams of twiddlers to entertain us during the leaders debate last night. And the results were interesting.
There's little doubt that Clegg was the debate's overall winner, both because he seemed fresh and confident, and because he was able to present himself as the outsider offering real change from the old discredited two party politics of the past. That's always been the LibDem pitch of course, but Clegg was really able to get it across last night - powerfully assisted by the sleaze scandal, from which the LDs have somehow distanced themselves.
Which, for those of us who are desperate to see a Tory win, was all rather discomfiting.
It was especially discomfiting when we saw what those twiddlers were telling us. Because when it came to Cam, the bits that went down best - by a mile - were the bits where he was expounding traditional Tory themes. Proper punishment for criminals, school discipline, much tighter immigration controls (see vid), and - most interestingly - cutting wasteful government spending to fund tax cuts (Cam's waste examples were topical and excellent).
Traditional Tory themes became traditional Tory themes because they represent what very very many of us believe. They are the themes that have guided Tory leaders throughout Tyler's lifetime - Michael Howard could - and did - say exactly the same stuff in 2005. And they are the themes that Tony Blair aped to win three elections.
Unfortunately they are also the themes that Tory modernisation has tried to blot out. Which is why voters now think they're all the same, and why Cam's task in this election is turning out to be much more difficult than it should have been.
So let's hope those knobs weren't twiddled in vain. Let's hope Cam takes the hint. Much more on cutting government waste - with examples; much more on the importance of tax cuts (such a shame the Tories are still nailed to the fuel tax cross); more on immigration controls (where the strength of Tories' cap and points system still hasn't fully registered); more on locking up criminals; more on school discipline.
Right. Tyler's now off to the hairdresser for his blue rinse.
PS Yes, I do understand that knobs are only as good as the twiddlers twiddling them. And we have no real idea how the TV stations selected their twiddlers. But since the results confirmed the twitchings of Tyler's own knob, and the impact of previous policy announcements (eg see here) he's going to accept them as both representative and definitive.