Saturday, May 08, 2010

Paxman, Coalitions

The celeb boat party was the most tone-deaf element of the Beeb's election coverage but Paxman wasn't far behind. Following his terrible performance and the success of the leader debates I hope, rather than expect, that the suits will realise that we're due for a break from the relentless 'why-is-this-lying-bastard-lying-to-me' approach. It should be obvious now that a blanket application of aggression works against honesty in answers and anyway, like viruses mutating to beat ever-stronger antibiotics, politicians just get better at dealing with it and saying less. On Wednesday's Newsnight, Paxman's constant interrupting of the Electoral Commission lady went beyond parody; but he was worse yesterday morning, doing the same to a series of grandees and largely impartial pundits who were genuinely trying to make sense of the situation. Paxman has no notion of when to turn it off, or even down a bit. The second and third TV debates showed that you can allow politicians to speak uninterrupted and they will seriously discuss the issues. Unmoderated Paxmanism is not only rude to the interviewee, it insults the viewer by assuming that he can't listen to everything said and then make up his own mind about whether the bastard was lying or not. Surprisingly often, they're not.

I'm with ZMKC in regarding yesterday as a rather great day in British politics. Not only did the BNP get their due thrashing, the three leaders gave two and a half excellent speeches which 80% restored faith in politicians. I like Cameron more and more (and even more having watched, thanks to Gaw, his exposure of Paxmanism back in 2005). Clegg is in a remarkably pivotal position, but he doesn't really have a choice. They're not going to get PR so all that matters to the country is that a Con-Lib alliance tackles the Debt Which Passeth All Understanding. I hope Broon won't be a toad in the ointment, as half his speech yesterday suggested he might be, and in the way that ghastly party fanatics like Harman and apparently Hain would be. This is an astonishingly critical time for British faith in politicians: a ConLib alliance would do wonders; a LibLab one would be unthinkable and I wouldn't care a hoot if Paxman were let loose on that.


malty said...

Whatever the final political mix turns out to be, next week will be WK 1 of the new era, very large reductions in govt employee numbers, significant reduction in services, serious belt tightening. All of this requires thoughtfull and pragmatic management. Hopefully our politicians are up to it.
Our media, the BBC in particular is not, the past week has highlighted an organisation in freefall, much of its visible tip of the iceberg is inadequate, ill informed eye candy in a continuous state of televisual masturbation, creating and re-creating it's own hysteria, in no way representing the true state of affairs, the people who direct this organisation are myopic, insular and possibly the result of inbreeding or genetic mutation funnelled through the university system.
We own this organisation, have the ownership of it's intellectual copyrights yet we seem powerless to change it, the commercial media can be and are influenced by our financial patronage, if we don't like them, they don't get our money, the BBC simply ignores us and shoves Paxman in our faces, the organisation is parasitic.

Flippin' cold up here Brit, nine degrees and blowing a gale, heating on full, door to the garden shed firmly shut, shopping out of the question, got any suggestions?

Mark said...

There's nothing wrong with asking Don Politico sharp and unforgiving questions but the problem with Paxo is that he appears so utterly to despise everyone who comes on his programme that his interviews are hectoring and boorish.

I'm rather hoping that Greece will say that it is defaulting on its debts and will pay only a few drachma on the Euro, take it or leave it. This might make it easier for the UK to do the same, so that both we and our children's children won't have to spend our lives indentured to Wall Street greedmonsters. Little Cleggy and co are a complete side show compared to this. What is this thing about the sanctity of "sovereign" debt anyway? It's all American Express to me. Bring it on!

Gaw said...

There's a lot at stake this weekend, mostly as the markets have moved into a febrile mood this past week. As an economist friend writes:

The forex and bond markets will tear the UK a new orifice if Cameron doesn't become PM. Moreover, a minority Tory government won't do the trick. It has to be with explicit Liberal support.

If the party activists get too awkward in their purity I expect some wartime-style rhetoric from both leaders. I hope I'm wrong but I sense we're on the edge of something highly unpleasant if they slip up.

Brit said...

Yes these Unlock Democracy bods, if they are demanding that Clegg doesn't compromise on PR (which Cameron can't give them), presumably don't realise how damaging to the UK their wish would be.

On the subject of the Lib Dems and PR, there's a real irony here: if they form an alliance with Labour in the hopes of a referendum on PR, it would be the worst possible advert for PR because the Tories could point out that such losers' coalitions and parliamentary messes is what would result every election.

On the other hand, a sensible alliance with the Tories to sort out the economic mess would be a good advert for PR, but they won't get a referendum.

Gaw said...

Yes, I was wondering about that - if it's seen to be messy and unproductive the process alone will scupper PR. More pressure on Clegg.

malty said...

Stop press.....that's it then, a cetain N.Cohen has endorsed a ConLib alliance.

Well, sort of, grudgingly, through his teeth, in a manner of speaking.

He voted labour, apparently, real out of the box thinking.

David said...

The Nick Cohen post is real comedy gold, and never funnier than when he praises the Libs for "instinctively accept[ing] the cultural changes of the late 20th century."

Who has more completely ignored the last 30 years than a Labour voter?

worm said...

Im with you on Paxman, Brit. Same as with the Today programme, I can't listen to it because the aggressive style of questioning actively encourages the victim to clam up and give disingenuous non-answers

Even though I couldn't vote, I am happy to report that our constituency has turned from Labour to Conservative at this election

zmkc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
No Good Boyo said...

If you want to see a Welsh taunt Paxo with words and numbers, Brit, I counsel you to look this way:


Brit said...

Taffy-terrific, NGB.

That Plaid bloke looks like the Weak Lemon Drink hobby-man from Lee and Herring.