I am in full pre-election mindset at the moment,. So, when my wife said, this morning:
"...oh, I'm glad he's doing it. He knows what he's doing and isn't a twat"... I failed to recognise this beacon of hope for the nation. This was because she wasn't talking about the next Prime Minister- just the bloke who will be doing the MOT on our old MG.
I'm thinking of voting for him if he ever stands for election though- because he has precisely the qualities I would like to see in the leader of the country; and there is a dearth of competition. After the glorified Question Time masquerading as Election debates, my conclusion is that all of them fall down on one- or both of those essential criteria ( I still cannot properly speak for Natalie Bennett as, despite their level of support, coverage of the Greens can normally only be found in a small snippet about rainforests on Newsround).
So, I think we should abandon the televised debates next time and concentrate on making them job interviews in the competency-based style beloved of large companies.. It is always the same questions, so it shouldn't be difficult for them. We can dispense with David Dimbleby; instead, the debate will be run by Clare, the Assistant Regional HR Director:
"Mr Miliband, can you give me an example of a time when you didn't come across as a bit of a buffoon on national television?"
"Mr Cameron, can you tell me when you successfully dealt with any difficult situation?"
"Mr Clegg, give me an example of when you kept a promise"
"Finally, Mr Farage, can you please give me one example of an interview you did, not in a pub, not wearing biscuit coloured slacks and not containing the words immigration or people's army?"
Afterwards, in the Green Room, they would all be a sweaty mess like post-exam GCSE students.
"I can't believe I got the buffoon one"sobs Ed
"She was vicious, I mean, what difficult situations have I faced? I couldn't think of any", moans Dave.
"Shit, I just remembered- I promised to take my kids to the zoo once- and I actually did" laments Nick at a lost opportunity.
"She looked a bit foreign to me" observes Nigel.
Suck it up you politicians, that's what its like in the real world- and just think, a zero-hours contract on minimum wage was within your grasp, before it was cruelly snatched away.
Nick Clegg said something I agreed with (ah, the nostalgia of agreeing with Nick), when he made reference to the fact that we, the British electorate, quite like the idea of coalitions. He then spoiled it a little by suggesting that this was, in itself, a good reason to be voting LibDem.
Quite how, with our ludicrous electoral system, you can actually expect to vote for anything at all, is beyond me. In fact, such are the complexities of potential tactical voting, we should all have massive spreadsheets on our phones to double-check the consequences of voting this way and that- the intention being that we will do our level best, not to vote for someone, but largely to try to stop a particular party being elected.
I can see it now, a UKIP vote in Great Yarmouth might stop the Tories, but let Labour in. A UKIP vote in Rotherham could allow the Tories to sneak in. In Solihull, the chances will be that the Tories will reclaim the seat, even though they will be massively out-voted by the rest- something that will be true for many constituencies.
So, the ploy, as demonstrated by Grant Shapps, who is the Chairman of the Conservative Party, but seems to be better suited to being one of those supercilious regional sales manager types, is telling people to vote Tory, not UKIP, as they "...might get Miliband if you do..."
The advice therefore, is to vote tactically against someone, and not actually for a party? And this is an electoral system they want to keep?
They can even have Glenn Hoddle doing the tactical analysis on election night,"It's all about tactics y'see. Where Mrs Brown is going wrong with her tactics is that vote would've been useful if she lived in Melton Mowbray rather than Salford. She completely got the diamond formation wrong".
Clegg tried to portray it as the classic Left vs Right boomerang; hardly. Yes, its true that the Tories will unleash the forces of hell on the underprivileged should they somehow manage to earn the right to pursue their agenda. Their PR machine, aka the British Press, has successfully managed to convince many that the recession and its ensuing wage stagnation, was the fault of Labour mismanagement of the economy coupled with too much EU interference, immigration and the fact that we are paying for public services and a benefit system that we simply cannot afford. Nothing whatsoever, not even a teeny bit, to do with loosely regulated banks, speculative Hedge Funds and multi-national corporate tax avoidance then? They are also slowly convincing the working population that their livelihoods are under threat, not from TTIP or Globalisation, but from the apparently feckless, increasingly marginalised, poor.
Labour stutter and splutter, but they know that they are, in some part, to blame; they just don't want to be seen as "anti-business". Their preoccupation with allowing financial services to be driven into the hands of large providers saw them forget to regulate the banks properly. So they keep schtum hoping that the fact that enough of us will hate the Tories more than them, combined with the iniquities of the voting system, will see them scrape home.
I do understand why people are turning to UKIP, I really do. Many of us want something different- I don't happen to agree with that idea of different. Their votes should actually count though, as should all votes- and not just as an ineffective protest.
Then again, I can't find a party I agree with either. My manifesto of essential public services, run on a not for profit basis for the benefit of all, coupled with the encouragement of sensible free enterprise and a benefit system that avoids poverty, doesn't seem to appear anywhere. Still, with our voting system, I only have to find who to vote against don't I? If there is a party out there, please let me know- even better if they do a good MOT.