Tuesday 6 April 2010

Five questions we're asking after day one

1. Do good manners cost extra?

The Prime Minister didn't announce the election date, as the Leader of the Opposition jumped the gun. That was so frightfully rude, thought FT scribe Matthew Engel, that he even broke the rules on mentioning the great unmentionable, finding it a very Etonian kind of coup.

Yet David Cameron did stake a clear claim to be heir to Blair when it comes to doing violence to the English language. Hopi Sen didn't think much of "the great ignored", though it is the meaningless of claiming that everyone is ignored which wins the Tory leader Next Left's first Steve Hilton political gobbledegook Award of the campaign proper: let's hope he gives somebody else a chance.

The Coffee House's Alex Massie just wants to be ignored by the politicos, but doubts he will get the chance, now that nobody will ever be ignored again.

2. Why is it always those pesky gays who put David Cameron off his ProgCon game?

Yet the "gay community" were not wanting to be ignored.

If PinkNews quick to spot the Great Rememberer's rare memory lapse, it may have been because they were told to expect an important gay shout out last night.

The slip would hardly have caused any excitement at Left Foot Forward if the frontbench hadn't spent all of Easter pretending not to know who Chris Grayling was - and batting away the idea that the now-former future Home Secretary's views about the law should be of any interest to anyone - or if anyone briefing the leader had realised that Gay News would only go and ask the leader about gay issues.

The Tories did promise the Pink News hugs and kissses before bedtime, making one of the less gracious claims even for day one of an election campaign:

A Conservative Party spokesman said the party was "committed to equality" and that Mr Cameron would "definitely" be mentioning gay people in his other remarks throughout the day, including a large rally in Leeds tonight. The spokesman added: "We feel very clearly that gay voters are among those who have been ignored by Labour."

Yep. Seriously, If only the Tories had won the last three elections, we might have really seen some historic advances on gay rights in this society for once, you know.

3. How can big issues break through the campaign talking points?

One of the best pieces on day one was from BBC home affairs editor Mark Easton, with a telling post on how none of the main three parties would answer his question "Would it be better for Britain for house prices to rise or fall?". Easton highlights several other issues unlikely to get the airing they merit.

4. Do progressive Conservatives believe in progressive taxation?

George Osborne doesn't have any plans to increase VAT, though there is a good case for remaining sceptical. But London deputy mayor Kim Malthouse's madcap scheme to increase VAT until it could replace all other taxes shows that a belief in the abolition of any progressive principle in taxation is no barrier to high office under the progressive Conservatives.

5. Are the news helicopters worth it?

Aerial shot of Gordon Brown going to the Palace: uninformative, but kinda historic.

Aerial shot of Brown's train journey from King's Cross: not informative, not historic.

So is somebody going to ask Mr Murdoch and the BBC Trust about the carbon footprint?

We learnt one other thing today. Any dispute about who deserves to be at number ten is pretty futile, when that Lionel Messi is so good.

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