I’m a voter. No manifesto to launch, no policies to cost, no press conferences to worry about. So I can take whatever angle on this election that I like. Even if it is trivial.
Sadly, the parties are pretty trivial, too. There’s a housing crisis in this country, so what’s the flagship policy for the Tory manifesto launch? Flogging off housing association properties to tenants at a hefty discount. I’m not even going to bother dealing with the effect this is likely to have upon the housing problem (take it as read, it will make things worse). But the politics of the whole thing is risible. It took one of their own, Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, to nail the gaffe. Nelson asked us to imagine two workmates, both hard-working, both renting. The one with a secure tenancy, higher quality accommodation, and a lower rent with a housing association gets to buy the property at at 30% discount. The other one continues to pay over the odds for a poorly maintained, insecure place, and sees the stock of better quality rented homes shrink. Will that voter want to vote Tory? I don’t think so.
But there are even more trivial things than Tory ‘housing policy’ (an oxymoron, if ever I saw one). I’m talking about the tide of social media declaring that Ed Miliband is “hot”.
So is Mili “hot”? The sexy smoulder down the lens doesn’t do it for me. But it’s not just the leaders’ debate that provoked an outpouring of suggestive silliness. Remember that incident a year or so ago when Mili helped a young woman who’d been knocked off her bike? When asked by reporters what she made of Mili, she praised his good deed, then added that he was surprisingly good looking.
All I’ll say is that Mili has the best suits, and wears them well. He can work a suit like Obama, all Rat Pack swagger, because he chooses lean lines.
The millionaire Cameron may have a missus who works in the fashion biz, but no way does he rock a suit – or any other garment, save possibly a rugby shirt worn with some salmon pink trousers and deck shoes, as beloved by the Chipping Norton set. Cameron’s suit problem is partly the cut he favours, which I would describe as ‘building society deputy manager’. It’s the comfy cut for the middle aged gent, all leg o’ mutton billowing thighs, saggy arse, and plenty of gut room in the jacket. Hot, it’s not.
But there’s an even more crucial fashion test for the modern male politician. The tee shirt challenge. It comes down to this. In a tee shirt does the politician look like a dad in the park, or a member of the band? I’m not sure I’ve seen Cameron in a tee shirt, not even in those holiday pics he posts to social media (the Daily Mail). Sam Cam holidays in wafty maxis from Zara (for the cameras – it’s Chloe and Blumarine behind the villa’s walled garden). Dave cuts a sad figure by her side, his pigeon legs protruding from below the baggy shorts. But Mili is the veritable fifth Ramone in a tee shirt. Check out the “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” tee shirt pics for the proof.
Ah, feminism. Will I be subjecting the lady politicos to this facile analysis? Hell, no! I’ll leave that to the Mail….