Ah, the joys of new media. And, more to the point, politicians doing new media. And, even more to the point (I am so near the point now I can nearly touch it), politicians competing with each other on who can do new media better.
"This is how to CONNECT," I hear them cry from the bunkers of Westminster. "We will talk straight into their homes. It will be like being IN their homes. They will become our friends!"
And so to two recent offerings from Teams Brown and Cameron, or in their YouTube guises: webcamerontv and Number10. This time they have taken the cameras to Afghanistan: it's the Battle of the International Statesmen.
Spot the difference: Brown wears a smart suit whereas Cameron wants to show he's down with the troops and sports a bullet-proof contraption. (Although once he's talking to the troops he's back in his Oxfordshire-constituency-roaring-British-fires woolly jumper which rather undermines the pervious hardman look.)
Other highlights: Brown trying to banter with heroically patient troops; the soldier standing behind Cameron whose eyes keep veering to the left; Cameron's weird "opposition" joke (I suspect there was a Conservative Party New Media recruit brought along for the ride to hold up a sign saying "Laugh now please, if you would" at appropriate moments.)
The winner? On video views, Cameron by a mile. On statesmanlike dignity? The troops. For gamely tolerating the whole thing.