*Cue 2001: A Space Odyssey music*
Tonight, Britain will head into the unknown, into the abyss, heading into uncharted territory, for, yes, the leader’s debates will commence. Picking up where the United States left off 50 years ago, our main Party leaders will be standing shoulder to shoulder for the first time and ‘having it out’.
*screeches to a halt* Yet for all the artificial buoyancy created by the media, I predict this will be a colossal waste of 90 (x3) minutes. Gordon, the man with the deflated face, Dave, the man with the inflatable face and Nick the man who looks like the man with the inflatable face will be so tightly scripted, infused with the biteyest of bites that nothing of any true import will happen. This is especially true considering the 70-odd rules governing the whole affair, placing truth and spontaneity at a more removed location. The result of this will be similar to sitting in a First Class carriage on a train, listening to three different conversations bloated to the max overlapping yet never gelling cohesively.This is not the essence of debate, the verve, the passion, the ability to see people’s assumptions, rather than their ability to market us into voting for them. Everything will be aimed toward the centre that it will be impossible to think of the terms ‘left’ or ‘right’ afterward, they will be collectively deleted from the national memory banks.
But for all these rules regulating their behaviour and that of the audience: “don’t clap, don’t shake hands, don’t run with scissors”, there remains one question. What happens if one Party breaks the code? If Nick Clegg decides to follow in Bill Clinton’s example and engage with the audience and leave the podium what will happen? Will Davey C break out a knuckle duster and once and for all erase the public schoolboy image, or will the PM send in *dur dur duurrrrrrrr* Mandy to sort things out. The Lord of Darkness could end someone’s life in half the time it takes to give his full job title. But the answer is nothing; he will look compassionate, compared to the others shocked yet stilted approach, resulting in the other two complaining bitterly in the press and end up sounding like bad losers.
So that’s the plan: be a bad boy, look empathetic and debate victory will be yours. Unless your Brown and it may just seem threatening. Poor lad.