Tuesday 26 January 2010

Touch the tip of your nose!

Did anyone notice that odd chunk of the Clarke Vs Mandy fight on Channel 4 when it turned into a version of the playground game ‘Simon Says’?

Mandy was trying to frustrate Clarke, with some success, painting him out to be a Tory rebel who’d supported Labour policies, by using phrases like ­Ken agrees and Ken says.

Clarke responded with I didn’t, I didn’t in an increasingly high-pitch voice that made him sound like a schoolboy denying he’d smashed classroom windows with a slingshot.

But the real strangeness was triggered when the shadow business secretary turned the tactic and started a sentence with Peter says.

Peter says, Peter says,” interrupted Peter, making the playground game his own.

Peter says don’t start public spending cuts now because it’ll endanger the economy’s growth.

Peter says 0.1% growth is still growth.

Peter says stand on one leg and touch the tip of your nose.

There’s something disconcerting about a man referring to himself in the third person. Normally only cartoon cavemen do it – “Ug go eat now!”

As well as his attempts to disconcert Clarke, Mandy’s other weapon was his fawning manner – employed in such force that at one point Mrs Lobbydog even commented “Mandelson seems like a lamb”.

If ever there was a better example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I know it not.

The main tussle was whether, as Clarke argued, debt was the weight holding the economy down or, like Mandy claimed, public spending was the balloon holding it up.

Believe Mandy and any attempt to cut spending sends us into double dip hell.

Believe Clarke and the economy’s growth will remain as impotent as today’s 0.1% increase if our debt, and spending, is not cut.

Big Beast Clarke was his blustering best, trampling over Peter when needs be, and even trying to “out” Mandy as cunning, wily, and dishonest.

He claimed that Labour would make cuts now too if there wasn’t an election round the corner.

In return Mandy accused his opponent of talking the economy down. To which Clarke neatly replied that you could not talk down 0.1% growth.

And he’s right. If you did we’d be talking about 0% growth – no one would be silly enough to say something like that.

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