TV debate: five things you might have missed

Election 2010: Guffwatch!

Analysis. That's what you want after a TV debate. And you have come to the right place for that, my friend. Some key points.

1. Boulton. He was quiet as a mouse. Could barely hear the guy. It was better, I suppose, than the barking Stewart, but still, I expected more volume from the voluminous fellow.

2. The changing positions. Cambo must have thought after last week, "There's no way I'm getting stuck in the middle again after that mini-tantrum sweaty terror fiasco." So in goes Clegg, and Brown and Cambo think they'll execute a perfect pincer movement ("Get real" was quite a good moment, but old Gordo, as he will, did rather ruin it by knowing it was good and therefore saying it 14 times within the space of five minutes). But what happens? Clegg looks statesman-like, the man in the middle, the third way, the one when you look to right or left that you think you'll plump for after all. He even used his positioning to his advantage, flapping his arms to indicate the tired hopelessness of those on either side. Cambo meanwhile basically drifted off the stage halfway through and everyone forgot he existed.

3. Clegg. There's something quite impressive about a politician who, after a week of such extraordinary hype, can still saunter on, hand in pocket, roll his eyes, have a laugh. When Clegg laughs you realise how clinically wrong Brown's smiling is. Without doubt, it would win first prize in the competition for "most unnatural facial movement of all time".

4. Spin Alley. I still find it so embarrassing that we are literally, in a sort of Please Let The West Wing Be Real way, trying to crowbar "Spin Alley" into our lexicon. But that's beside the point. Is there anything more pointless that hearing David Miliband, Theresa May and Chris Huhne play the "Who Won?" game. To summarise: "My guy did." "No, I think you'll find my guy did." "No, no, you're both wrong. MY GUY'S THE BEST." I find those exchanges really help to clarify the preceding 90 minutes.

5. Best thing of the night. Those shots of ahem Spin Alley as you see hapless minor politicians wandering around hoping for an interview, clearing their throats in the corner and pretending to be frantically on their Blackberry, when clearly they're just hoping to catch some local news station reporter's eye and force themselves on to their show.

Oh, and finally, the Guff champion? It's Kay Burley, of Sky News, for her alarming interview technique and saying things to Alastair Cambell like: "He looked down the barrel, your man, didn't he, didn't he?" Which left both Campbell and the viewing population of the UK entirely baffled.


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Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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“Trembling, shaking / Oh, my heart is aching”: the EU out campaign song will give you chills

But not in a good way.

You know the story. Some old guys with vague dreams of empire want Britain to leave the European Union. They’ve been kicking up such a big fuss over the past few years that the government is letting the public decide.

And what is it that sways a largely politically indifferent electorate? Strikes hope in their hearts for a mildly less bureaucratic yet dangerously human rights-free future? An anthem, of course!

Originally by Carly You’re so Vain Simon, this is the song the Leave.EU campaign (Nigel Farage’s chosen group) has chosen. It is performed by the singer Antonia Suñer, for whom freedom from the technofederalists couldn’t come any suñer.

Here are the lyrics, of which your mole has done a close reading. But essentially it’s just nature imagery with fascist undertones and some heartburn.

"Let the river run

"Let all the dreamers

"Wake the nation.

"Come, the new Jerusalem."

Don’t use a river metaphor in anything political, unless you actively want to evoke Enoch Powell. Also, Jerusalem? That’s a bit... strong, isn’t it? Heavy connotations of being a little bit too Englandy.

"Silver cities rise,

"The morning lights,

"The streets that meet them,

"And sirens call them on

"With a song."

Sirens and streets. Doesn’t sound like a wholly un-authoritarian view of the UK’s EU-free future to me.

"It’s asking for the taking,

"Trembling, shaking,

"Oh, my heart is aching."

A reference to the elderly nature of many of the UK’s eurosceptics, perhaps?

"We’re coming to the edge,

"Running on the water,

"Coming through the fog,

"Your sons and daughters."

I feel like this is something to do with the hosepipe ban.

"We the great and small,

"Stand on a star,

"And blaze a trail of desire,

"Through the dark’ning dawn."

Everyone will have to speak this kind of English in the new Jerusalem, m'lady, oft with shorten’d words which will leave you feeling cringéd.

"It’s asking for the taking.

"Come run with me now,

"The sky is the colour of blue,

"You’ve never even seen,

"In the eyes of your lover."

I think this means: no one has ever loved anyone with the same colour eyes as the EU flag.

I'm a mole, innit.