Nick Clegg may have outperformed his opponents in the first ever televised election ‘debate’ and has increased his and his party’s profile in the country but, to hear some folk talk, you’d think that we actually directly elected Prime Ministers. Of course we don’t but that doesn’t stop the already-ignorant from deluding themselves as to the nature of the British political system.
For the record, I think Cameron looked his usual smug, self-satisfied self and Brown looked like he’d never been on television before. His jibes at Cameron looked pathetically puerile. Only Clegg and Cameron looked straight at the camera, while Brown sought to address the studio audience.
But all of this is a distraction from the issues…and I don’t mean the confection that is served up by politicians to address so-called public concerns either: anti-social behaviour; binge-drinking; crime and policing and immigration; in other words, the sorts of ‘issues’ that offer near-endless opportunities to enact badly thought-out legislation. These are the sorts of issues that are generated by the moral panics in the tabloid press. Politicians these days seem to do nothing else but react to what is written in the papers.
We do not directly elect Prime Ministers in this country. We have a parliamentary system here.