05 May 2006

Local Election Highlights

Stayed up till 2.30am watching Question Time and local election coverage, all while frantically texting F with own running political commentary.

Firstly, Question Time: God, isn't Richard Littlejohn awful? All Daily Mail journalists are awful, but Richard Littlejohn is such a sanctimonious prick. I thought he was unnecessarily persecutory towards Margaret Beckett, and got way too personal (although I'm surprised at her promotion this morning – Blair clearly desperate to hang on to people who won't rebel against him). He was articulate enough, but way too intent on getting out his little soundbites, none of which made any political sense, and all of which betrayed his sneering, spineless intent to shout everyone down without recourse to well-informed, reasoned arguments. Some examples:

1. (on last week's very serious revelations of the non-deportation and subsequent disappearance of foreign criminals, and Prescott's indiscretions with his diary secretary) "I'm just enjoying the theatre of it all". Um, I think the family of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was murdered by one of the "lost" foreign criminals, and Pauline Prescott may not share his enjoyment.

2. His constant reference to Charles Clarke as "Ken Clarke".

3. (When asked why he didn't think Blair would leave office sooner rather than later) "I don't think she wants to go anywhere, Mrs Blair". Clearly waving the Daily Mail flag of venom towards successful career women, then.

4. His assertion that the "green argument" is a "side show for more pressing issues facing the country". Excuse me? A side show? Not only are these some of the more important issues facing the world, not just the country (although clearly it is not at the very top of the list), he is an idiot. Does he not realise that all the political parties have advisors and opinion polls and electoral research, and David Cameron would not bother to ostentatiously cycle to work if he didn't know if was an important issue for the electorate?

Also, I thought William Hague was v entertaining: (about Clarke and Prescott) "they don't realise how pleasant resigning can be!"

And God, wasn't Margaret Beckett jeered and heckled? Reminds me of the scorn faced by Tory ministers on Question Time in the mid-90s, on their last legs of power. It's certainly going that way for Labour, isn't it, although I'm not sure what the alternative is. Unfortunately, several voters seem to think the alternative is Cameron, which worries me greatly.

I was v. impressed with Jeremy Vine's graphics on the election results and analysis programme afterwards. I did giggle at that bit where they showed Sir Ming sprinting at the Olympics 40 years ago, and that baton fell out of the screen!

How funny was it when the Labour ministers kept on "losing the connection" every time they were asked a tricky question?! (eg, Dimbleby to Blunkett: "Has John Prescott fallen foul of the ministerial code?" Blunkett: "hello? Hello? I've lost the connection…" Dimbleby: "Can you hear me?" Blunkett: "No!")

Dimbleby was also on top form. The cameras panned to the count in Stratford-on-Avon, and there was a gaggle of middle-aged Tories, all with blue rosettes, cheering and holding up their champagne glasses to the camera. Dimbleby quipped: "dear oh dear, that is what you might call a posed celebration".

Oh, and did anyone see Gorgeous George arriving at the count in Tower Hamlets? He was looking v. tanned - no doubt the result of a recent holiday somewhere luxurious at his constituents' expense.

Oh well, at least Clarke has gone.

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