The First Debate

The launch last night of Quartet’s highly topical new book What Are They Doing in There? by Julia Jeffries and Hazel Johnson, at Daunt Books on Fulham Road, was a triumph, largely thanks to the warm hospitality of the Daunt staff.

(Now there’s something you don’t see everyday…a book, made entirely out of cake!)

Friends of the two authors flocked to the bookshop to celebrate its publication and wish it every success possible.

The book has become even more timely with the General Election hotting up, and the unprecedented appearance the same night of the leaders of the three main parties in live personal debate on television.

The resulting sceptical public response to political claims and assertions more than supports the case the book makes: that Parliament is facing a crisis of credibility in the aftermath of the expenses scandal, which rocked the nation and eroded the moral standard of what was hitherto the most revered institution in our electoral system.

Although politics has never been of paramount interest to me, somehow I could not allow myself to miss the debate. I hurried home from Fulham Road to watch the three leaders laying out their wares before the public. Having then analysed what they said and the mode of their delivery, I came to the conclusion that the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was the most open and credible among them.

He displayed a relaxed persona and was always straight to the point, captivating his audience and proving equal to the task of communicating political realities.

He definitely has the potential to be a future Prime Minister.

His appeal last night was palpably far greater than either David Cameron or Gordon Brown could muster. The latter scored the lowest points in plausibility and displayed unnecessary, badly calculated aggression, especially in dealing with David Cameron, subjecting him to constant interruptions.

Brown shows little sign of inheriting any of the oratorical dexterity of such earlier stars of the Labour movement as Aneurin Bevan or Michael Foot.

It is early days to make a final judgement, but I am beginning to feel already that a change, in the real sense of the word, could only become possible if the public were to wake up to the realities of the present situation and miraculously give Nick Clegg the chance to reverse years of a political system monopolised by the two major parties, which has dogged the country for so long.

We have to be bold and re-engage with politics, to turn the tables on years of stagnation and move forward in a world that is constantly changing.

Otherwise we are likely to be left behind, recklessly leaving our fate in the hands of a false destiny.

One response to “The First Debate

  1. Pingback: Triumphant Book Launch « What Are They Doing In There?