Election Notes 2 - Brand, Legitimacy and a Defence Fail

Brand meets Miliband....or Vice Versa

Difficult to know who was the most important of the two in yesterday's Miliband versus Brand meeting, but it's certainly caused waves and who knows, that might be what Ed Miliband really wanted.  after all, he was never going to get an intelligible political debate from Russell Brand.

Miliband has been making more, and more interesting, waves this election than David Cameron, and that should worry the Tories.  He has taken them - and his own party - by surprise with a pretty good campaign so far, and while some of his moments have been awful ("Hell, yes" springs to mind), on the whole he's trumped expectations pretty niftily.  That should at any rate be a warning to the Tories who keep insisting on employing negative campaigner Lynton Crosby - do someone down too much and you'll find they merely have to walk unaided to appear triumphant.

Inevitably, the two camps on the Brand interview are the right-wing one, broadly following David Cameron's effective line that Brand may be funny, but the election is not a joke (some might dispute the first part of that statement), and the liberal "Brand has something to say" camp, praising Miliband for reaching to young voters via the Brand network.  Interestingly, the ever wordy Hugo Rifkind of the Spectator is in the latter camp here, while the other newspaper views can be seen here.


The question of whether a prime minister is legitimate if his party is only second is dealt with effectively by prominent politics academic Philip Cowley here.  He reiterates the nature of our system - its the numbers, and that means seats - in a column that should be read by anyone remotely interested in a quick road-check of how our constitution actually works when it comes to passing laws in parliament.

Defence Fail

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has had a pretty awful election, coming up with fear stories about Trident and the SNP effect.  It didn't get any better for him last night with his Daily Politics debate, as the Spectator's Isabel Hardman comments, although she does try and suggest he is simply following someone else's line on this (Lynton Crosby, are you there?)

The Tories used to be pretty solidly the party of defence.  This election they're keeping quiet about it for the most part, knowing that they can't and won't guarantee the 2% of GDP they want other NATO countries to spend on it, and virtually conceding defence as an issue to anyone else who will take it.   It's a shambolic position, entirely in line with what has been an increasingly patched up foreign policy approach all round that is beginning to leave Britain marginalsied.  Voting Conservative for Britain's strong place in the world is not a line anyone could take without a smirk these days.


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