23 April 2010

The live abortion of democracy

Marina Hyde, on the sea of insincerity, desperation and hubris in the Sky Leaders Debate spin room:

"Mos Eisley spaceport," sighs Ben Kenobi in Star Wars. "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy ... " Evidently Obi Wan never visited Sky's post-debate spin room, which – pound-of-flesh for pound-of-flesh – must have been one of the most distasteful places to be in this galaxy or any other tonight.

The venue was an interactive science museum in Bristol, magically transformed by Rupert Murdoch's news network into a fully operational 10th circle of hell. Behold, the cream of Britain's arseoisie, as journalists, spin doctors and politicians interact in scenes that just scream "Come, friendly bombs …"

To the left, George Osborne robotically repeating "David Cameron showed passion, leadership and commitment." To the right, Michael Gove simulating anguish that Nick Clegg should have referred to the dead Polish president's party as nutters: "The sort of comment that no one who wants to be taken seriously should utter." In the middle, Alastair Campbell failing to pull off sang froid: "It's a poll, it's a poll – you can take them or leave them." And unifying the picture, Sky's endlessly pant-wetting coverage of its own coverage.

It was like watching the live abortion of democracy. Had the network decided the evening should have been immortalised in oil paint (surely only a matter of time), Hieronymus Bosch would have declined the commission on the basis that it was a hellscape too far even for him.

- Marina Hyde, Guardian, 22 April 2010

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