by Mark Simpson
It’s difficult not to feel a little sorry for Gordon Brown. Even if you really don’t want to.
I mean, imagine spending over a decade trying to wrest the leadership of the Labour Party – and the UK – from that insufferably posh boy Tony Blair and when you finally succeed the global economy goes down the toilet. Worse – much, much worse – you find yourself at election time appearing on The X Factor faced by not one but two all-singing, all-dancing Baby Blairs. Even posher and prettier than he was.
If the instant polls after last nights final leaders’ debate on TV are to be believed, Cameron and Clegg are in first and second place respectively, with Brown trailing in third, but with only a few points between them. A Tory/Lib-Dem alliance seems likely, with Labour heading to a historic defeat. You the audience seem to have decided that you want to see the super-posh boys from Eton and Westminster get into bed together.
Or perhaps you just decided you don’t want to see Brown any more.
I won’t bother rehashing what was said. Instead I’ll talk about what really mattered: How they looked on my 42 inch LCD TV. Here are my notes, written in my best Simon Cowell:
Cameron has round doll-like eyes, a round doll-like face, and a small doll-like mouth. In fact, he’s a nicely painted Edwardian doll that looks, despite his apparently affable personality, a tad sinister – as if it might be hiding one of those jack-hammer jaws in Alien. This is particularly apparent when one of the other’s is saying something Cameron, watching them out of the corner of his narrowed eyes, doesn’t like.
Clegg looks like the head boy everyone likes. I can’t bear him. I want him to be caught dealing drugs.
Brown looks like death on toast.
Clegg and Cameron both have a high, creamy skin colouring which is incredibly posh in that strawberry blond sort of way. It positively glows privilege. Good genes, good diet and the kind of really restorative sleep that only serious trust funds bring. Cameron’s skin is a little too buffed and hydrated – his chin looks alarmingly shiny. Perhaps though it makes it easier for him to penetrate people’s rib-cages and tear out their vital organs.
Brown doesn’t have skin of course. Brown has pallor and gloom knitted and stretched around his skull – with handy, capacious pockets under the eyes for all his regrets.
Cameron’s teeth are surprisingly snaggly. Perhaps though if you’re really posh you don’t need to have perfect teeth – and Cameron’s small mouth is quite good at hiding them. Clegg’s teeth are better, but there is a distracting stain at the front of his lower set of gnashers. Clearly British dentistry has some way to go to properly catch up with American Presidential politics.
As for Brown’s: I can’t remember. I don’t want to remember. His lower jaw has a disconcerting habit of moving under its own volition, apparently unconnected to his head. Everyone of course has made fun of his bleached rictus smile so I won’t.
Dame Cameron’s hair is a helmet of streamlined terror. So strongly fixed in place it pulls his face backwards like someone experiencing G force.
Clegg’s cute hair makes you want to reach out and ruffle it. And I think that’s the intended effect. My eye keeps being drawn to a tiny lick in the middle of his fringe that has been oh-so-carefully teased forwards like a comma. Like an embryonic kiss-curl. What did it mean? What was it for? A visual reminder that Clegg was in the centre of politics? A trick to break up his Tefal forehead on our widescreen TVs? Or is this part of the carefully contrived hands-in-pockets casualness of Cleggy? (I suspect the latter.)
Brown’s hair looked like a tabby cat that had been through the boil-wash-dry cycle on Gillian Duffy’s washing machine. Twice.
Cameron’s ears are even more streamlined than his hair. They’re not so much flush to his skull as internal. Clegg’s stick out the right amount and aren’t too big. Prep school ears. Neither of them appear to be troubled by anything so vulgar as earlobes.
Brown on the other hand has earlobes that appear to run all the way around the outside of his ears. Ears so vast and parabolic they should really be part of the SETI project.
Cameron wears a suit so well-made, so expensive and so New Tory that it sucks in all the light from around him. Making his chin even shinier. His shirt is simply divine. You can almost smell the Irish linen dampening slightly against his polished, scented, pampered and privileged body.
Clegg’s suit is nice too, but is ostentatiously less expensive than Cameron’s. And a shirt that doesn’t quite fit his neck. But again, this is probably part of Clegg’s attempt to portray himself as a grammar school boy, rather than a Westminster old boy who actually has much more in common with Dame Cameron than with 99% of the viewers.
Brown meanwhile wore his undertaker outfit that he’d slept in the night before. On Gillian Duffy’s front-room floor.