Sunday, April 20, 2008

Paddick Needs to Discover a Sense of Humour

I don't know how many of you caught the London mayoral debate on the BBC Politics Show this lunchtime but again it was a pretty unedifying spectale, but slightly better than the Newsnight equivalent. Accuse me of being biased if you like (and I know I can rely some of you to do just that!) but I felt that Boris shaded it. At the end he called Ken Livingstone 'stale' and I think that's exactly how the Mayor came across - no now policies, no new ideas. Boris was clearly up for it, while the Mayor seemed to be going through the motions. Jon Sopel tried to goad Boris with some selective quotes but Boris sailed through the jibes rather majesterially.

But perhaps what came out of it most was the total eclipse of Brian Paddick. I have always had a lot of respect for him, but his campaign hasn't caught fire. I think his performance in this debate showed why. He badly needs to discover a sense of humour. If you are fighting two people who are masters of the the oneliner you need to play them at their won game and use humour as part of your political armoury. He particualrly needed some sort of funny line when he repeatedly refused to say who his second preference would go to. In the end he ended up hinting that it would go to the Greens. Not good enough. If the LibDems are in favour of a proportional system, the electorate deserves to know who a candidate's second preference would go to. It tells you something about them. Brian Paddick failed this test and throughout the interview appeared a sideshow to the main focus of Boris v Ken.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes we really enjoyed watching it in Scotland

very relevant :-)

Mostly Ordinary said...

I like Paddick and he's got my 2nd vote, however, he does remind me of Kryten from Red Dwarf.

Don't see why he needs to tell us his 2nd preference vote - it's not compulsory to have one.

Jonny Wright said...

Gah, it's so depressing. People always say they prefer substance over style in politics, but when it comes for it, they vote for style every time.

The London Mayoral elections are a case in point. Paddick is a really solid candidate who really deserves to be in with a chance. But he's a bit boring, and if he went on HIGNFY you just know he wouldn't be very funny, and that apparently rules him out ... ! Why are our priorities so badly screwed up?

You're also pretty unfair to the Lib Dems here: "If the LibDems are in favour of a proportional system, the electorate deserves to know who a candidate's second preference would go to." You know full well that if we declared a second preference in advance of an election, people would spin it as though we'd endorsed another party. You too, probably.

Effectively, you expect the Lib Dems to play by the rules of coalition government despite being in a system designed to make coalitions difficult, and to screw over the junior partners every time. Put your money where your mouth is: if you want a modern mature European system of proportional government, start supporting the constitutional changes that would make it possible, instead of backing the status quo but demanding the Lib Dems play by a different set of rules to everyone else.

Incidentally, don't you as a Tory think it's unfair that a 10pt lead in the polls only gets you a majority of 20-something?

J said...

I throughloy agree about Paddick. Totally useless. Interesting you don't have much to say about the Tim Donovan 1-on-1 interview with BoJo afterwards. Go on, Iain, be honest, he was just quite simply C-R-A-P.

Anonymous said...

On Friday's PM programme on Radio 4 Boris was absolutely hopeless. He floundered even on straightforward questions which he could have used to expound his policies. When asked challenging questions he just blustered.

He must have lost a good few thousand votes as a result of his performance on that programme.

Tom FD said...

I still don't understand why Paddick gets the platform. It's like the BBC are aggressively promoting the Lib Dem vote. Paddick's presence has been completely disproportional to the amount of support he's got - I wouldn't mind seeing a debate with Ken and Boris one-to-one (exactly as it's really going to be in the end).

Anonymous said...

Iain, You are wrong on Boris, he is a bafoon, full stop. Ken comes as the experienced operator and polished article. I'm not even a Labour or Ken supporter. Sorry.

What sickened me is idiot interviewer Jon Sophel, when for todays government issue such as the 10p tax abolition. Well the London Majors officer Ken or Borris can't change this.

Sopel completely missed the issues of sustainable energy or domestic and business waste in the city. Where is the roof microgeneration, the anti incinerator, landfilling in home counties or need for better, more advanced waste instrastructure, MBT+AD, Plasma Gasifiers and Autoclaves, Rersource Recovery Parks and the revenue stream to put this in place?

Iain Dale said...

J, I didn't mention it for the simple reason I didn't see it. I live in Kent, and we were treated to an item about hard drug users n Brighton!

Roger Thornhill said...

Good call on Paddick.

"if the LibDems are in favour of a proportional system..."

Ah, but the choice they relish is not when we have a choice and so can have a say in light of it, but after the event, when the democracy window is closed and they can then get down to some serious back-room horse trading for their own ends without the pesky interference of those voters standing between them and their posts and sinecures.

Boris did a good job IMHO. Ken was pretty good too, in fact. Too close to call, if you ask me. Boris did not manage to make the distinction between Islam and Muslims, and Ken was exposed and did not get out of his choice of "friends".

Frank said...

Paddick faces the same problem that a lot of Londoners. I am not voting for Ken (stale corrupt etc) but Boris is an incompetent who was never run anything bigger than a welk stall. He is witty and amusing but mayor no way. I will vote paddick then not fill in a second preference.

Darkersideofbridgetjones said...

Dear Iain,

I actually watched that programme as well. After the debate the local Politics Programme for London interviewed Boris Johnson and I have to say that interviewer clearly is a bloody leftie. The coverage on the Boris campaign was incredibly biased and anti-Boris. I am actually really angry about this. The BBC should not be so biased, it should present an entirely neutral view, allowing the public to make their own minds up. I really think that someone should complain about this interview to the television regulator because it was blatant bias.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, Paddick's failure to recommend a second preference to his supporters was odd, but otherwise he benefited from being overlooked for much of the debate. Johnson and Livingstone came across as two cats in a bag, givimng Londoners the off-putting site of yet another bunch of politicians making desperate promises and arguing in their goldfish bowl. Michael Bloomberg they weren't...

verity said...

That's right, darkersideofbridgetjones. Everyone is a communist. Let's disband the BBC and let Rupert Murdoch take over the remnants! So clever.

Tom said...

I really don't understand this line of questioning about 2nd preferences. I know the Greens have got themselves in a right mess by telling their voters to put Ken 2nd (typical Green liberalism)- why should any party feel they have the right to tell members of the public where they must put their vote? If we had a list system, would you expect Brian to go through all 10 candidates and allocate them a number?

LD voters in Sutton will have a very different outlook from the typical one in Islington- people say that hows the LDs have no core values- but thats a different debate. And I found it funny how Ken laughed his way through that question on 2nd pref, before saying that the candidates are essentially running as Independents on their own merits, so any party pact would be illogical.

Weygand said...

Did you mean magisterially or majestically, I'm not sure?

Anonymous said...

It isn't so much that Paddick has no sense of humour - it's the corollary of that - it's that he's the typical up-himself pompous self-righteous Lib Dem who tsk tsks at those terribly nasty other parties that actually have to worry about governing and not just pie-in-the-sky idealism.

Dave Hill said...

I'm afraid Boris's "new Routemaster" plan has become a liability.

Anonymous said...

Dave, mate.

I commissioned the new Routemaster design which received a lot of publicity before Christmas and which Boris though 'fabulous'. It was drawn up by Capoco the UK's - of not the world's - leading bus designers

1. It's built around an alumnium spaceframe chassis which is lighter and stiffer than the mild-steel junk you currently travel on.
2. It has an open back for light-footed commuters and ramp for wheeled access.
3. The floor is also very low because there's no connection between the engine and the back axle. That's because a tiny engine ticks away at a constant speed charging the batteries which drive the rear-wheel electric motors. This system is known in the US as a PZEV - or partial zero emission vehicle.
4. This latter system is also called a 'plug-in' or self-charging electric vehicle and is soon to become the hybrid transmission of choice when GM launches it across the global in a new Astra-sized car in 2010.
5. This system is also a favourite of the California Air Resources Board which has lead the world in pollution reduction for 40 years.

What Ken has managed to so do in the last eight years is buy a new fleet of diesel buses. We are the ONLY city in the world still mostly using diesel city centre public transport. All other world cities (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing etc) have moved to clean burning gas-power.

Perhaps the record levels of nitrogen dioxides, particulates and clouds of black smoke are all in Londoner's imaginations?

In summary: The wrong C-Charge, technology, wrong on the C-Charge income, wrong sort of bus engines, wrong on bendies, wrong to drop the Routemaster (unless they were swapped for gas-powered buses), wrong not to chance the London cab, wrong on reducing road space, wrong on street furniture and coloured stripes in world that's shifting to 'shared space' and 'naked streets'....

Wrong, wrong, wrong....

Karen Carter said...

Boris is a twit who never prepared for TV, radio or print.

Anonymous said...

Well Iain we had to endure the three stooges waffling on about what they wish to do to England's Capital in the West Country,
Though with all those second home owners, I Guess they override the locals point of view as usual.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:26 PM said...
Dave, mate......"Wrong, wrong, wrong...."

You are living in cloud cuckoo land.

Also, what do you think of Boris's claim that it would cost only £8,000,000 to introduce the new Routemasters (informed opinion was more like £100,000,000).

Olivia Bolingbroke said...

Whenever I see Paddick I am so transfixed by his Tintin hairdo that I can't hear anything he says.

Laurence Boyce said...

Not much to disagree with here. Boris was the only candidate who seemed fired up for it, and I hope he wins, assuming our man Brian doesn’t make it. But if there is one good to come out of this for the Lib Dems, I would hope that it might dent the notion that some form of proportional representation is going to lead us to the promised land. It isn’t. Here we have an election where the two front runners are both, let’s say, “problematic” in different ways. By contrast, Brian is a sensible solid contender, if not wholly inspirational. Coupled with a preferential voting system, Brian should stand every chance of punching through the middle, and yet we can so all see that isn’t going to happen.

And then there’s the whole minefield of being drawn into revealing your second preference, as we’ve seen here. Of course candidates are not (in general) going to state it openly, but they must have a second preference and so it’s bound to come out in time. As the leading PR advocates, it puts the Lib Dems in a very tricky position because we ought, in principle, to be encouraging everyone to use their second preference to good effect. Instead, Brain first said he wouldn’t use it at all; and then today, having ruled out Ken and Boris, appears to favour the Green party (well it can’t surely be any other candidate?). Of course a vote for Sian is doubly absurd, not only because of the nature of the Green party itself, but also because as Lib Dems, we believe that we have already absorbed the most credible information on offer from environmental science.

The whole PR thing is such a double-edged sword, and it would be really nice if the Lib Dems woke up to it one day.

dirty european socialist said...

My line is
Ken is working class white English Londoner. No wonder the BNP hate him.

poons said...

So are Londoners voting for Mayor or London's best stand-up comedian?

So Paddick has no one liners - surely that means no spin?

You, from the right, know that Boris is a muppet. I from the left, know that Ken is a muppet past his sell by date.

Paddick is trying to talk the truth, no spin, no bullshit. Does it really worry you that much?

Anonymous said...

dirty european socialist said...

"My line is
Ken is working class white English Londoner. No wonder the BNP hate him."

Surely it was the extreme left who granted Leavingslime the 'Class Traitor of the Year Award'? Don't all decent people hate him? Real socialists certainly seem to.