The older generation of Brits, having been brought up to discipline like strong leadership which the interpret as leadership which is strong in favouring them.The younger generation, products of a different schooling prefer the whatever style of leadership: cool and anything goes.
Both have to be gratified because politics has become more presidential. The leader is the party and people relate to him or her rather than to the whole range of party policies.That's too complicated where judgement on a person is easy.
So party managers strive to give their leader a good bloke (or blokes )image. Don't let them say too much, they'll only incriminate themselves but show them in kitchens, playing with kids (but not touching) beating the shit out of some pathetic tennis player or pretending to be workers in hard hats and project the image of a good bloke to chat to in a pub-though in fact being politicians they'll probably bore you to death.
The role of leadership debates on television is to cut through all that crap, lock simpering wives up in a box and show brains working.Which is exactly why CAMERON has set out to avoid them because he's too slick and too prone to reel out his achievements in getting the economy growing slightly after four years of clobbering it. He doesn't want the long playing record interrupted or the needle jolted in its track and he knows that Miliband would be able to do that where he can just talk over a more deferential interviewer. Or walk off on another track. Brilliant at reeling off statistics and half truths he's less good at real debate where the answers have to be thought about .
So what last night's pathetic substitute for a head to head debate showed was the slick salesman and the serious politician whose thought his policies through rather than just reading them off some research department list..CAMERON is a brilliant PR man for a clumsy prejudiced government. Miliband is a serious thinker trying to develop policies which will work and hold a fractious party together.
One is at the top of his PR tree and with the economic recovery has something to say. The other has grown and is smart enough to show that the promises and projections don't add up -Which is why Cameron won't face him in a head to head and why last night's substitute was such a failure. Predictable pat- ball questions from an audience and Paxman playing the stern recording angel constantly interrupting to show how clever he was just didn't do enough to test the men and set brains working .
But it did enough to show that Miliband thinks about his answers Cameron is more of a long playing record,one has guts the other talks about them and one faces up to the difficulties ahead while the other makes promises about them. The one striking conclusion is that we need a head to head to decide. Sweep away the presenters let us judge the battle.