Watch some of this mock interview from one of the best shows about politics ever made, The Thick Of It:
Then watch the following interview with real-life Tory leader David Cameron (via Dylan‘s Twitter):
1.) I’m only superficially acquainted with UK politics, but between this interview and this scandal, it’s sort of hard to avoid the impression that both of the country’s major political parties are sort of a mess right now. Right now I’m still predicting Gordon Brown to hold onto his Downing Street residence, though it’s pretty clear it won’t be very much of a “Yes We Can” moment.
2.) We’ve seen American politicians get humiliated like this in interviews before, but most of them have been Sarah Palin. Say what you will about David Cameron, but he’s a reasonable effective political operative, and also clearly not an idiot. So how does something like this happen to him? The clip from The Thick Of It explains why pretty well, even if it is fiction: because in the UK you’re more likely to see substantive grilling on the issues, which needs to be distinguished from the American tendency towards creating the impression of substantive grilling by just shouting a lot. Also, note that the interviewer asked Cameron to reconcile a comment he had just made with a seemingly contradictory comment he made at the beginning of the interview; unlike a disturbingly large slice of American interviewers, this guy actually has a short-term memory/attention span extending beyond two minutes.