Peter Andre and Jordan for people with a brain

Leicester Mercury politics reporter Martin Robinson at European elections count. Picture tweeted by Ross Grant.

Leicester Mercury politics reporter Martin Robinson at European elections count. Picture tweeted by Ross Grant.

I’ve begun wondering, is politics just the equivalent of Peter Andre and Jordan for people who daren’t be seen reading the Daily Star?

Who has Gordon sacked now? Which cabinet minister has bitched about which other? Have you heard about The Moat?! That councillor is going out with who?!

It’s a lot of fun. But does it matter? I mean, really matter, any more than whether Peter and Jordan are getting back together?

When I was growing up politics was great. Remember Howe’s speech in the Commons? Remember John Sergeant reporting in Paris during the leadership contest as Mrs Thatcher appeared from behind him? Remember the eurosceptics briefing against John Major?

Remember Things Can Only Get Better?

And then it all went a bit quiet as the Conservatives struggled to form themselves into a decent Opposition and Blair plodded on with a sizeable majority.

But suddenly it is fun again. The politicians blame the journalists of course. It shouldn’t be fun, we’re told. The media are too obsessed with the gossip and ignore the policy, they say. Are we concentrating on MPs fiddling expenses while North Korea / the Middle East / Africa burns?

The current election in Iran is more important than Hazel Blears’s brooch or Douglas Hogg’s Moat.

It’s not just journalists’ fault. Politicians thrive just as much on the intrigue, the gossip and the scandal.

I absolutely loved witnessing the banter on Twitter between the two hardworking and affable Leicester city councillors as the results came in on Sunday night, Ross Grant, the leader of the Conservatives, and Sarah Russell of Labour.

Sarah: “I was really pleasantly suprised on the doorstep on Thursday, people were so positive about what we are doing in the City.”

Ross: “Stop calling round your parents!”

Hopefully the events of the last few weeks have got people interested in politics again, just like me. I even spent the day yesterday forgoing my usual role as education correspondent to fill in for Martin Robinson as political reporter as he enjoyed a well-earned day off after his 2am shift at the Leicester count.

Yes, the nitty gritty needs to be examined. As education correspondent I want to know, for instance, what a change of government will do to the Building Schools for the Future plans to rebuild all secondary schools, already under way in Leicester, and in the pipeline in the county.

But for the time being, Peter and Jordan?, give me Mandelson’s leaked emails, Blear’s brooch and the duck island any day.

About Ian

A journalist working in Brussels
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