Things we liked/disliked while watching the General Election coverage
• The pathetic machismo of the Sunderland South constituency who take a deluded pride in being the first seat to announce the result. It’s like being the sole competitor in a 100m race on a lonely windswept field and demanding an Olympic gold medal for the victory.
• David Dimbleby’s restless right leg that squirmed and writhed like a snake trying to escape a bag. And his inability to hold the whole thing together.
• ITN conducting interviews from pods in the London Eye which looked out onto the inky, featureless blackness of nocturnal London. They may as well have hired out a lump of Antarctic permafrost.
• Liam Fox’s smugness as he stood in his Woodspring constituency where he increased his majority thanks to a population terrorised by the illusory threat of immigrants in much the same way as British kids used to get scared of killer bees after a plethora of apocalyptic films in the 70s. We did our best to remove him.
• David Dimbleby only referring to any of the anonymous innumerable BBC correspondents by their first names after they had come up on screen; before that he
merely indicated the constituency (“Let’s go off to Torbay/Hove/Sunderland North.”)
• Frederick Forsyth – never has burgeoning bigotry and iniquitous intolerance fitted so snugly into the human form.
• Jonathan Dimbleby getting his tongue in a twist and almost making a Freudian reference to Michael Portillo by calling him “a one-time shit”. And later, the bewildered anchor didn’t know who next to talk to and eventually went to “Llllllllllllllllllllllllllllord Steel”.
• ITN over-simplifying politics with their Snakes and Ladders game and paradoxically succeeding only in making the whole election more convoluted and confusing than it needed to be. It’s only possible use could be for Alistair Stewart’s suicide note as many have topped themselves for lesser humiliations. Most stupid moment of the night was projecting the Putney result across the whole nation (in a tug-of-war cartoon) and putting Michael Howard into Number Ten based on the figure.
• Jeremy Paxman responding to novelty comedy politician Boris Johnson’s claim that the election was “the slow extinction of Tony Blair” with a classically dismissive and inflated: “This is the most pathetic argument I’ve ever heard.”
The patronising way in which the BBC exaggerated the impact on Tory MP David Davis being re-elected if there was another candidate called David Davis on the constituency ballot paper. It ignored the fact that if a voter, however stupid, could read the words David Davies they could also distinguish between the words “Conservative” and “Independent” and put a cross in the correct box. And he didn’t stand in the end, anyway.
• Giggly Katie Derham couldn’t have nailed her blue colours more to the mast even if she donned a hunting outfit and pursued John Prescott across Hull before impaling him on a pitchfork and taking his corpse back to salubrious Surrey for Otis Ferry and his odious cohorts to rend and devour with their bare teeth.
• Giggly Katie giggling while interviewing Tony Benn, even when he was making serious remarks.
• Mark Austin’s awkward “exclusive” interview with Thatcher at ITV’s appalling boat party in which he treated her as if she had his life in her hands and she treated him like a silly little imp.
• The words “only for fun” applied to dull statistics that were anything but.
• The BBC wasting two good reporters (including the lovely Sian who does Breakfast when Nitwit Natasha is off) on the pathetic painting-by-numbers electoral map stunt in Gateshead.
• Nitwit Natasha sashaying around the BBC’s celeb party and finding Jon Culshaw amusing when he wasn’t.
• Peter Snow’s hilarious representtations of the leaders strutting along Downing Street
• Peter Snow’s pathetic, shameless exchanges with the policeman outside Number Ten.