Hoping for a Triumph of Substance over Style

…perhaps I am naive. Going to follow (listening online I imagine) the UK’s first ever prime ministerial televised debate. I’m very concerned that it is going to make the UK electorate focus even more on nice suits and good hair and less on knowledge and ideas, following the lead of other countries. But I am hoping. I’m holding out some faith in my countrymen…

Are you going to watch/listen?


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7 Responses to Hoping for a Triumph of Substance over Style

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Hi! New blog post: Hoping for a Triumph of Substance over Style -- Topsy.com

  2. Clifford says:

    I found it interesting, more or less. I do worry that people were more excited by Clegg (who supposedly “won” the debate according to measures of reaction to it) than the others more as a rejection of the traditional two parties instead of actual substance. But tactically, it might be a good result to have the third party get a boost in the polls, so not a bad thing. Looking forward to the next debate.


  3. robert says:

    Do you get to cast a vote Clifford? I found the ‘Britain’s got Talent’ undertone to the whole thing a bit depressing; I hear that Nick Clegg is now the most popular party leader (according to some quantitative measure or other) since Churchill back in the days of WWII. More popular than Falklands Maggie or ‘things can only get better’ Tone!! Whatever.

  4. Clifford says:

    Yes it was depressing in that aspect, and I stayed away from that sort of nonsense. If it continues with this sort of focus, I expect that the UK will outstrip the US in the gameshowization (yes, I just made that word up) of general elections. Sad. In this case however, I think that the Clegg effect here was more of a trendy rejectionist move than an issue of image projection or style (although that did play a role too), and so perhaps there is hope. As with all such debates on both sides of the Atlantic, I wish people would listen on the radio only, and not watch it on TV. Hearing what they say only (and not being distracted by their hair, facial tics, suit, or whatever) gives a very different debate that gets a bit closer to the content, in my opinion. But of course, that’s not going to happen…


  5. robert says:

    Re the radio-only debate format – was it not the case that, when Nixon and Kennedy had the first televised candidates’ debate back in the day, the radio listeners were swayed by Nixon’s arguments, while the viewers were won over by Kennedy’s looks and charm. How different the world might have been without the TV coverage – fewer floosies in the Oval Office, a more sensible approach to South East Asia and no Watergate to tip us into the cynicism that has marred politics ever since.

  6. Clifford says:

    A good counter example, I will admit. I find it more of a cautionary tale than a compelling reason to go more gameshow. Perhaps TV and the viewing public are just different animals now than they were then…