Monday, 17 May 2010


Watching Nick Clegg and David Cameron give their first press conference as leaders of our country last week was somewhat reminiscent of the Morecambe and Wise Show. They just seemed so relaxed about it all and even had time for a little laugh with reporters, which suggests to me that the next few years are going to be great fun. Compare that to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who, as The Guardian pointed out today, were never able to pull off such an informal and friendly co-appearance despite being in the same political party for decades.

The mention of ‘Cameron’s favourite political joke’ from Five News reporter Andy Bell will be replayed over and over for years to come. It’s a perfect start to a future news report on ‘where did it all go wrong after it started so well’; but hopefully it won’t go wrong and we can have good fun with our new leaders. Maybe they will come up with a new coalition logo - perhaps a blend of blue and yellow to create green - as a sign that they want to make this work? Maybe not.

There were some great moments during the election like Gordon Brown v Gillian Duffy, Alastair Campbell v Adam Boulton and Joan Collins v Andrew Neil. But in many ways it failed to deliver. We thought the TV debates had been successful in stirring up a huge increase in seats for the Liberal Democrats, but that never materialised. We thought turnout would rise dramatically, but it was only up 2 per cent on average. And only a few months ago we thought we would get a Conservative overall majority, but that was to prove unfounded too.

A Clegg-Cameron coalition should be good for this country. It will certainly mean fewer rash policy decisions are made as the two parties will always be debating everything together, and this can only be good for plurality in our political system. The Tories and Lib Dems may well reinvent a ‘centre’ politics, where they come to compromises on some of their more right or left ideas, and that could be very interesting.

We have two people now leading our country that were born after England last won the World Cup in 1966, so the hope is that their youthful and innovative approaches to politics will work together for the good of this nation.

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The camera pans over Canary Wharf and the City. The Financial Times is being read in a private helicopter. Some businesspeople in smart suits are walking across a bridge carrying suitcases on wheels. But... hold on... aren’t they a bit, um, small?

The best thing about getting the General Election out of the way is that The Apprentice is back, thank goodness, and we will all once again have something to do for an hour at 9pm on Wednesdays. However, all is not as it seems - this new version of the main show, entitled Junior Apprentice, features teenagers. But don’t worry, as their egos are all just as big as the real contestants. If not bigger.

The first episode made me cringe, to say the least. There were girls crying for no reason whatsoever, boys who were so boastful they were an embarrassment to themselves and Lord Sugar [pictured - no longer as 'Suralan'] cracking jokes about Facebook.

But, with all of that, it was still quite enjoyable to see cocky Jordan De Courcy fired after the first-round for making a loss in a cheese selling competition. Credit to the 16-year-old for already owning his own business, but he’s clearly got a lot to learn. I also enjoyed Tim Ankers complaining that he couldn’t package crackers and cheddar because there was too much wind. And he works as a farmer.

This is clearly going to be lots of fun, but it made me feel slightly like I was watching The Inbetweeners. It’s difficult to sit in front of the television because what’s unfolding makes you want to cringe so much, but it’s actually quite good entertainment.

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The FA Cup Final on Saturday between Chelsea and Portsmouth was a feast of football, compared to the 2007 debacle which Mark Lawrenson referred to as ‘a good advert for the cricket season’. It was played how a cup final should be played, full of commitment and desire to win. The gulf between the sides was massive, but it could have been a wholly different story had Kevin-Prince Boateng converted a penalty shortly before Didier Drogba netted the decisive goal.

I think everyone feels quite sorry for Portsmouth at the moment. It would almost have been better to see them lose 5-0 than 1-0, as at least then they would be comfortably defeated rather than having a sniff of glory. It’s been a sorry state of affairs on the south coast all season, and manager Avram Grant doesn’t deserve it. He’s favourite to take over at West Ham United next season, and I hope he does a good job there if appointed. Portsmouth are likely to lose most of their squad this summer, and must ensure they don’t get relegated again next year. Stability is vital.

PICTURES: Daily Mail/Financial Times; The Sun; Daily Telegraph