Get a Grip

indexIt’s the middle of a bank holiday weekend and somewhat belatedly the Holyrood election campaign has kicked up into high gear, as two parties chase their core votes in a neck and neck race for second prize.

(surely, nobody doubts who will be coming out on top)

It might be something to do with the nature of the party leaders (one has a willy, one is a Willie the other three are women), but I’m pretty sure this is one of the most substantive, issue-led campaigns of recent memory. It certainly compares very favourably with the farrago playing out South of the border.

The epicentre of most of the unpleasantness seems to be the race for Mayor of London: Certain parties seem to want to divide the electorate along racial or religious lines. (because apparently London just doesn’t have enough sectarian hatred) But, what’s got all of twitter aflap (at the time of writing) is how Zac bloody Goldsmith holds his pint glass.

The having a “pint like a normal bloke” long ago supplanted the “kissing the baby” as the photo–op considered most likely to appeal to the floating voter. ( by the way, if you think Scottish politicians are immune to this nonsense check out Nicola having fun at Thistly Cross, or Patricks homebrew) But whatever the truth about it’s value as a political tool, it’s pretty clear the tory candidate made a pigs carcass of it: Instantly making himself a target for ridicule from the very people he was trying to court. His two handed, pinky-out technique was called out for being effete, weird, posh, mannered and awkward.

Basically people used this as an opportunity to call him out for things they thought about him anyway. It’s puerile, it’s unfair and it can lead to some pretty dodgy decision making for three good reasons.

Firstly, the politicians who can pull of this “ordinary bloke down the pub, man of the people shtick” best, tend to be the very last people you want near the reigns of power: Boris? Dubya? Nigel “brownshirt” Farage?

Secondly, I myself, often hold my beer with a “two handed toff” grip. To make matters worse I’m more likely to be caught supping some fruit enthused berlinerweiss  in a fancy-pants glass than a traditional pint.

Finally, if we start slagging candidates off for the way they drink their beer, then we are wasting precious opportunities to challenge them on their policies, their record and their statements. Which should be the only criteria for scrutinizing a candidate for public office.

And don’t even get me started on Ken sodding Livingstone…