THE BLOG

The Best Policy?

25/02/2015 09:31 GMT | Updated 26/04/2015 10:59 BST

Ummmm, er.... Cough... hang on... shuffles paper... erm... (audible gulp)... okay, let's go... I'm not Natalie Bennett, nor am I a professional journalist (I'm not even an unprofessional one) so all of this may sound daft, but bear with me... I think politics needs more Natalie Bennett's and her coughing, shuffling, stammering, stumbling ilk.

I know it sounds daft (although not as daft as The Greens' housing policies) but before we jump up and down and crucify her (I may already be a bit late) let me make my argument.

I'll wager that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg couldn't have answered a similar question about most of their policies. The only difference between them and Bennett, is that they are better at hiding their ignorance behind sheens of flannel and bluster.

They've had media training, they've learned from the pros, and they know how not to answer a question whether they know the answer or not.

Even Miliband with a bacon sandwich in his mouth would have done a better job than Bennett at dodging Ferrari, who, let's be honest, is no Jeremy Paxman (remember him?) The question is though, do we want professional dodgers? Or even for that matter, do we want a legion of politicians pulling Cameron's "make a statement and then walk away quick" trick? Or do we want people to shrug and say:

"I don't know."

Let's look at Farage (I know, sorry) most of his popularity is built on his "man in the street" appeal, his ability to sound like "us", his apparently honest answers to questions, his engagement with people on a level akin to theirs.

He's popular because he is normal (stop it.)

In the previous election debates Nick Clegg did so well because he sounded like a human being, he answered questions, he didn't duck and dive like Arthur Daley in a small claims court, he looked you in the eye and you believed him.

Gordon Brown and Dave Cameron must have looked at those tapes, surrounded by aides, advisers and media trainers and whispered "oh my god, he looks human. How on earth can we manage that?"

People are sick of polished power walks and "that's a very good question and I fully intend to answer it but I think the real issue here is..." politicians.

They want human beings, and had Natalie Bennett looked at her paperwork today, shook her head and then said:

"I don't know the exact figures Nick"

I'd be still writing a piece about "Meet The Ukippers."

Had Bennett just been human, had she not pretended to be a "politician off the telly", had she not tried to be clever and just remembered that not knowing an answer isn't a criminal offence (unless it is a letter off North Wales Police asking "who was driving the car?") she wouldn't have looked like an idiot, and we wouldn't be laughing at her.

Maybe one day politics will realise, honesty really can be the best policy.

Tony Schumacher's novel The Darkest Hour.