Soapbox 6: soapier, boxier
During the election campaign, we’re sharing the best and the worst of political communication. There’ll be no party bias here. We promise to praise everyone and spare no one, despite what we secretly think.
You may have noticed that we haven’t done a Soapbox for a while. That’s because we decided to step outside the Westminster bubble and engage with the real issues affecting real people’s real lives in this country today.
Not really, we just had loads of work to do.
During our hiatus, lots of things happened, including the worst crisis since the abdication and Aston Villa becoming West Ham. The polls didn’t move an inch though, adding to the general sense of futility sweeping Britain. We’d try to do something about it, but what would be the point?
Anyway, we’re back and we’re soapier and boxier than ever.
Metaphor Counter (Not a literal counter)
First a couple from David Cameron:
“If you think I’m going to roll over, you’ve got another thing coming”
PM IN GYMNASTICS SNUB
“This is a battle for the backbone of Britain”
You know the old saying about two bald men fighting over a comb? That, only something funny about someone being spineless.
Next, Nick Clegg:
“Winning is in the Liberal Democrats’ DNA”
Though it can only be seen with a really, really powerful microscope
And finally one from Unite leader Len McCluskey on the right wing press’ demonisation of Nicola Sturgeon:
“They always need a…bogey man. I’m sure she’ll wear it as a badge of honour.”
Not only does she want to break up the country, she wears a bogey as a badge! She truly is the most dangerous woman in Britain.
The many and various verbal tics of Ed Miliband
If you, like me, enjoy nothing more than spending days on end trawling through speeches and interviews by Labour leader Ed Miliband, you’ll have noticed a few phrases cropping time and time again.
1. He calls the audience “Friends”
Because he fears “comrades” might alienate some quarters of Middle England
2. He frequently takes an “old-fashioned view” of things
Apart from progress! fairness! and social justice!
3. When someone says something he doesn’t like, he says, “I don’t agree with you. Let me explain why.”
By doing this, he’s combining two useful strategies for answering tough questions. According to the first, if you don’t like a question, then you must challenge its very premise. Tell us that the real question is something different entirely, ideally something that paints you in a more favourable light. That always works. According to the second strategy, before answering a tough question, say anything you can to buy yourself time to think. It doesn’t matter if it’s total drivel. Thank your questioner for their question, tell them it’s a really good question, stress how glad you are to be given the chance to answer it directly today, comment on the weather, lament the demise of 4-4-2, anything you like. While you’re running down the clock, rifle desperately through your notes looking for salvation.
Finally, Ed Miliband channels Martine McCutcheon…
“This is your time. This is your moment.”
…while David Cameron conveys PASSION with some SLIGHT SWEARING
“If I’m getting lively about it, it’s because I feel bloody lively about it”
Ruddy hell! It’s Soft Cell!