Do they have to make it so blatant?

I know that all politicos have a major boner for American politics and that this year is just one non-stop wet dream. But do our lot have to make their affection quite so blatant?

As Alex Massie noted a last week, at the Labour Party conference, Gordon Brown was setting himself up as the experienced man who can lead the country through these choppy waters. As he said, “This is no time for a novice. Zing!”

He is betting that, come the election, voters will choose “experience” over “change”. Does that sound familiar?

Today, David Cameron appeared to deliberately counter Gordon Brown’s line. He is “a man with a plan (on a canal in Panama)”. (Sorry to James Graham for stealing his joke.)

He continued by saying, “it’s not experience we need; it’s character and judgement.” He then did his best Bowie impression and used the word ‘change’ 20 times during his speech.

Do these guys really need to copy everything that happens in America? I mean, Gordon Brown’s wife was brought out in front of the Labour Conference as though she is a First Lady. David Cameron spent a minute or two talking about his wife (with a bit of cringe worthy Carry On-lite humour packaged with it), as though I give a monkey’s who his wife is.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had the impression that the job of a First Lady is to provide a kind of ceremonial role, waving at the crowds and the like, because the USA (and France, and wherever) doesn’t have a royal family to do all that sort of stuff. Well the UK does have a royal family to do all that sort of stuff! Besides, Carla Bruni they are not (despite what The Daily Mail tries to tell you.)

George Osborne gives Dave the evil laser death stare Meanwhile, David Cameron was doing that awful thing where he looked as though he was facing the wrong direction. At least this time the people over his shoulder were recognisable faces rather than unknown greasy pole climbers-in-waiting. Unfortunately, George Osborne looked like he was constantly giving David Cameron an evil laser death stare. Watch him in the videos and you’ll see what I mean.

Another amusing aside to the conferences is the BBC’s word clouds. I couldn’t help but notice that Gordon Brown — leader of the Labour Party which distrusts people so much that it wants to issue you with a biometric ID card if you want to so much as scratch your arse — mentioned the word “people” more than any other word.

David Cameron — leader of the Conservative Party that is supposed to hate big government — used the word, er, “government” more than any other word.

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems — the party that is said to sit on the fence on every matter — used both words an equally high number of times. At least one of the parties is true to form.


  1. I too cringed at Brown and Cameron parading their wives around, especially after Gordy’s smug comment about not using his children as ‘props’ (but wives are fair game, right?) It *was* straight out of the US Presidential Campaign handbook, but not really executed quite as well.

    Having said that, I think Mesdames Brown and Cameron (and Obama and Biden for that matter) are smart people and probably wield sufficient influence over their husbands to make me interested in what they have to say.

    Finally, given that both Labour and the Tories are so obsessed with the notion of the family; family values, tax incentives for couples and couples with kids, family this and married that and ya boo sucks to single people, it’s about time they put their money where their mouths are and give us all something to aspire to (or not, as the case may be!) by wheeling out their nearest and dearest.