(I am perfectly aware this is not a popular view. I have never aimed to be popularist. I would rather be serious about the things it is necessary to be serious about than be 'one of the gang'! Enjoy!)
I think, just now, that you face a difficulty specifically created in our society by the magic of Disney. As Politicians lay out their plans and wish lists for the country, the media shines it's best stage lights on the process. They seek James Bond professionalism and Superhero jawlines. Gone are the days when people were automatically judged on the quality, or even quantity, of their work. Now everything and everyone must have a glamorous sheen; a sparkle with which to entrance and beguile. No longer do the public appear content to watch a leader do what must be done and make decisions with which to steer a country. They want pizazz; clever words; a Hollywood make-over; a designer suit and just-cut hair. This has been apparent in other societies for some time. It became obvious in ours in recent years.
It seems to me, though, that a person becomes expert by doing a lot of something. To be skilled, one must put aside those things which don't help the trade in question and concentrate on the acts and knowledge which do. I would suggest that being a skilled television personality, or a clever publicist, is not necessarily helpful to being a great and successful leader of a country. It might woo the weak of mind. It might attract the gaze of the politically disinterested. It does not help a person know how to deal with the issues which will affect the lives of an entire nation.
I have this image of the British public understanding that, in order to find a person to lead us, we must follow the principles of Prince Charming. Seek the prettiest person and see if the glittery shoe fits! These are not qualifications for the task of Premiership. The qualities required are a calm and brilliant mind; a decent and honourable heart; a serious commitment to service; and a willingness to put the nose to the grindstone for other people's benefit. These, Sir, are qualities I believe you posses by the bucketful.
It offends me that our country seeks froth where gravitas is necessary. It confuses me that a discussion about a person's smile, partner or suit is deemed more relevant than their abilities on the global stage. It bothers me that we may elect a shiny simpleton, in political terms, because his image is more 'screen idol' than another's. It is entirely ridiculous to trust a person because they are prettier; smile more often; or are more smooth than others! These, rather, are the qualities of a conman!
I am an Old Labour voter, by nature. I believe in co-operation between state and citizens; building a strong and fair social world; kindness; neighbourliness; and good manners. I believe you work towards providing these things in a day-to-day world. You have the manner of an Old Labour politician. A Public Servant with a job to do. A job so important and consuming to him, that he does not wish to waste time on image and showmanship. I voted for Mr Blair, but was horribly disappointed when he flowered in office. His manner has never felt sincere. Sadly for him, sincerity is not something you can fake! You, on the other hand, feel like a solid, decent man. Someone who would rather get on and do, than talk about how well he will do when he actually starts working!
I hope some common sense prevails, towards the coming election, and people start considering serious topics, such as the global recession; the state of both education and social care in this country; and the withdrawal of our boys and girls from the Middle East. Perhaps, if they can discuss the things that actually need achieving in the next few years, they will start looking for the person who will be willing to work hard, even serve, in order to lead our country towards a more solid future than one of whiter-than-white smiles and empty words.
The whole thing reminds me of the song 'One God' by Beautiful South. I hope we don't make this mistake of being seduced by media friendly images instead of looking for old fashioned values of honesty, worth and decency. It could cost us our future. So, looking towards my fears, if I may end on a quote?
"The world won't end in darkness, it'll end in family fun
With Coca-Cola clouds behind a Big Mac sun"