Monday, April 18, 2005

Paxman Interviews

This week will be three interviews by Jeremy Paxman with the three major political leaders. Today saw the first, with him interviewing Charles Kennedy in Liverpool.

I have to say, it was a complete waste of time. It was half an hour of Jeremy spouting off really random and ridiculous things for the sake of his own ego, and not really allowing Charles to answer. I shan't be watching any others.

What was clear was Jeremy's grasp of rhetoric compared with Kennedy. Jeremy was saying the most absurd things, but I can guarantee someone will think Charles is rubbish for not knowing the exact income of a nurse in Cardiff. Why anyone but a nurse in Cardiff would know this is really rather a mystery to me. An example:
"do you know the exact salary of a nurse in Cardiff charles?"
"well it's about..."
"you don't do you?"
"well, not exa..."
"well i'll tell you shall I charles? it's £20k pa. you know what that means don't you charles? it means you're a dirty rotten liar who doesn't know anything and isn't worthy to sit in my presence is what it means charles."
"well..."
"you can't answer that, can you charles?"
".."
"no, i thought not. now moving on to other areas of complete inadequacy, failure and self-contradiction..."

Completely pointless, got nothing out of it politically. Just half an hour of Jeremy asking Tabloid questions and talking over the response. Honestly, I think Ali G would have done a better job.

But rhetoric, refer back to Andy's post the Beauty of Language and the corresponding Guardian article and it's all very interesting. I think it's the so called journalists that have the grasp of rhetoric, and the party leaders have to just play with normal language... which makes them look more than a bit idiotic, but could make them look honest too. Who knows...

2 comments:

andy goodliff said...

I agree that Paxman did run a few rings around Kennedy and was asking silly questions. But what will be interesting is whether Blair and Howard can handle him better? I suspect Blair will. I don't think Kennedy is that commanding and authorative. I'm erring towrds Lib Dems because of their policies not their leader.

ash said...

oh definately... I think Kennedy is probably the weakest leaderin terms of character... he just seems too cuddly. But he also seems to me to hold the most personal integrity, and I think this is far more important than ferocity. And, ultimately, it IS about the policies not the premiers.

I think Blair and Howard have more experience dealing with heavy-handed interviewers like Paxman, and have a more developed bank of rhetoric (most of which won't get past him, but still). Blair's been in charge for years now and it's fair to say he's had his share of public grillings. And Howard was home-secretary (i think) during the last tory reign of power, so he again would be quite used to public office and public interviews like that.

I am confident that Kennedy and the Lib Dems won't loose much support over it though... It was inevitable that Paxman would do his utmost to make them look silly. And being first up most people will hopefully have missed it ;o)