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Universally Challenged

One way a Prime Minister’s election debate could have transpired…

Centre stage: the audience sees David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg standing behind lecterns, being questioned by Jeremy Paxman, a late replacement for David Dimbleby. David Cameron, having positioned his ‘Say Yes to a Dislike Button’ wristband so that Camera 1 gets a good view, looks to Gordon, who, while trying to smile, looks like he has just seen Rian from ‘Take Me Out’ naked. Nick Clegg is just happy to be there. After some irritating preamble, Paxman begins.

JP: I address the first question to Gordon Brown. Prime Minister, before we move onto the heavy issues, perhaps the most pertinent question would be: what makes you the right man for the job?

GB: Well…er… (Breathes loudly, making his characteristic mini-stroke face) exogenous growth under my tenure has resulted in real term spending increases of over twenty percent since 2007. I intend to continue this trend through the application of a neo-Keynesian fiscal policy in the next five financial quarters (No applause. Camera pans to the bemused-looking audience.)

JP: Thank you, Prime minister, for that veritable Smorgasbord of jargon. Mr. Cameron?

DC: Firstly, I thank you for raising that issue. In my pool-playing days, I learnt that the key to good leadership is having a long shaft that is well chalked! (Awaits applause; none is given). Seriously, though, our three commitments to the future are: accessibility…

JP: (Face contorting with cynical contempt) What exactly do you mean by “accessibility?”

DC: I’ll give you an example: our Communications and Logistics experts have created a Conservative Party Facebook page – we’ve already got fifty friends.

JP: (Holding his finger to his ear) I’m just being informed that that is, in fact, lower than the number of friends for the ‘Gonorrhea’ group…

DC: (Unable to muster a response, does some air-guitar.)

JP: (Looking like he has witnessed a triple homicide) I’ll have to stop you there, Mr. Cameron. Now, Mr. Clegg, in the infinitesimally low chance that you will be elected into office, why would you be suitable?

NC: Well, I think the Liberal Democrats are the party of real change, and, therefore, so is Nick Clegg.

JP: (Considers it beneath his dignity to respond, and moves on) Mr. Cameron, back to you. How do the Conservatives hope to combat global warming?

DC: Well, Jeremy, I’m interested in all aspects of the environment, from carbon emissions to huskies. As those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know, I have installed solar panels on five of my houses, I have a compost pot for my avocado and asparagus leftovers, and have promised my wife that I will cut my flatulence emissions by twenty percent by 2015 (Winks to audience). And remember, you can’t vote Brown to get green! (Laughs to self).

JP: Mr. Clegg?

NC: Well, I think the Liberal Democrats are the party to tackle global warming, and, therefore, so is Nick Clegg.

JP: (Rolls his eyes) Prime Minister?

GB: We have committed to cut carbon emissions by fifty percent by 2020, showing that, in reality, extrapolating from this trend, Labour will have the most considerable aggregate effect on reducing global warming. We intend to stimulate supply-side policies to improve green technology for the future. Mr. Cameron is an inveterate neo-liberal, and is, therefore, unable to procure a favourable environmental outcome.

(After several testing questions, all evasively answered, Paxman asks the concluding question)

JP: Let us end on a lighter note: you have all led fairly privileged lives, how can you relate to ordinary people? Mr. Clegg?

NC: (Stares blankly and says nothing.)

JP: Prime Minister?

GB: Er, I have considerable interests in soccer…and a range of popular television programmes…I like Dido…I’ve had a phone conversation with Simon Cowell…and I have Sky+’d an episode of ‘Skins’ that I definitely intend to watch in the next financial quarter.

JP: Finally, Mr. Cameron?

DC: Well, Jeremy, I feel that I could best answer this through a political rap that I have devised to a well-known tune (Paxman bangs his head on table; Cameron clears his throat and raps to the theme of the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ while bopping out of time).

On the west side of Berkshire born and raised,
Eton was where I spent most of my days.
Chillin’ out, maxin’, and playin’ some pool,
And enjoyin’ some polo outside of school.
When a Scottish PM was up to no good,
Started raising taxes in my neighbourhood.
Our credit card bounced and my wife felt down,
and said ‘You’re going to Westminster to take on Brown!’

JP: (Aghast at the deterioration of political discourse during his lifetime) I think that’s quite enough…

DC: No, wait, let me at least say the best line:

I pulled up to Number Ten around seven or eight,
and yelled to my chauffeur, ‘Yo, Holmes, smell you later.’
Looked at my kingdom, and I thought it was broke,
If you think it needs fixin’, then Cameron’s the bloke!

JP: Unfortunately…actually, who am I kidding? Fortunately, we have run out of time tonight. One of these men will be our next Prime Minister. God help us all.

James Adams-Pace, Ben Lloyd, and Martyn Jasinski

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