Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Who Won the Debate? Depends on Your Prejudices

The great finance debate was about as exciting as I expected- not very- but was fascinating nervertheless. I watched the show right through and then checked out some of the comments online. It was a true insight into how our prejudices influence our perceptions. I'm a lifelong Labour supporter and found I thought Alistair Darling by far the more impressive performer: very calm, very assured, imbued with the gravitas and authority of experience. Osborne, to me seemed lightweight, shrill and wholly lacking in these qualities. Vince, by contrast seemed more like Darling, though with more wit.

Fair enough, you might think but online judgements simply amazed me: 'Osborne wiped the floor with Darling'; 'George is my boy"; made me think they must have watched a different programme. Except that a fair number of the views on Vince I recognised as close to my own. So it would seem, Simon and Garfunkel were right with their immortal line from The Boxer: 'A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest'.

I daresay jugements in the print media will be roughly in accordance with this rule too. The Guardian seemed to plump for Darling too, but so far I haven't seen a poll result on the debate. I suspect Cable would come out of such a survey as 'the winner' as he managed to elicit the most laughs. We forgive people so much if they can make us smile or laugh. But it seems a slightly dodgy basis on which to construct a system of government.

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