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Our politicians are fair game.

Byline: John Avison

To read more columns go to www.examiner.co.uk/john ISAW a lovely card in Oxfam this week. It was a picture of a politician addressing an audience. "I am a man of the people,'' the politician is saying. "I clean my own moat.'' Now the chances are that this joke means nothing to you. You will not be alone.

If we are to believe the national media, millions of people are turning their back on the whole political scene and are threatening not to vote in the General Election that now looms large on the horizon.

They see politicians as venal, pompous, deceitful and out of touch with real life.

Similarly they see politics as having nothing to do with them, other than as a drain on their hard-earned personal resources. Indeed, a gaggle of Huddersfield university students proclaimed their apathy recently, not aware or not caring that their attitude is another nail in democracy's worm-eaten little coffin.

It's true, though. It's hard to stifle a yawn at the knowledge that a General Election is a few weeks away.

The main reason is that at the moment we seem to be between a rock and a hard place.

David Cameron might have a point. Who wants another five years of Gordon Brown? But the other side of the coin is, who wants five years of David Cameron? And, sorry, who is Nick Clegg? What does he look like? And if this election is about policies rather than about personalities, can we hear them please? It's fine banging on about Fairness For All and Time For A Change but, to be fair, change for change's sake can be disastrous and hardly qualifies as a policy.

So I have a suggestion. For the next 10 weeks or so, let's put our politicians through their paces on TV's game shows.

This has the advantage to the present and prospective politicians of displaying their popular touch, getting lots of publicity and gives the voter a chance to laugh at them in the context of entertainment, rather than in the more serious context of national government. I know that this idea will immediately conjure a vision - or should I say, nightmare - of George Galloway slurping imaginary milk from actress Rula 'Fairy Liquid' Lenska's hands on the 2006 Big Brother programme. It's said that the programme controllers offered George a platform for his left-of-Left views as an inducement.

But when he got on the show, they played birdsong over his soapbox moments.

Under the Avison scheme, this will not do.

I will insist that they explain their fiscal policy while dressed in a pink leotard and being bashed repeatedly around the head with a giant cotton-bud.

On Westminster Challenge, the election run-up version of University Challenge, Jeremy Paxman will tell the Old Etonian Toffs' team to stop taking the mick out of the Assisted Places, Sec Mod and Polytechnic lot and explain how they will fund education if they win. On I'm a Politician, Get me Into Parliament, you'll qualify only if you eat insects and have a bath in mud and leaves. Oh, and have a sensible idea about how to improve the NHS.

In Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Chris Tarrant will have to keep a firm hand on the tiller.

Politicians are past masters at becoming millionaires. Westminster is awash with former bankers and barristers and, as we know, MPs are brilliantly inventive expense claimers.

Fortunately, since they can't or won't answer the simplest questions, they'll come and go at a rattling pace.

Similarly with The Weakest Link, politicians love being nasty to their opponents and you can see all sorts of unlikely alliances and back-stabbings as the contestants vie to become an MP, then a Cabinet minister, then PM, then something mysterious but very lucrative in Europe.

There's be no point on holding a political Mastermind because we all know Lord Peter Mandelson will knock everybody else into a cocked hat in the general knowledge round following a spectacular total in his specialist subject, The History of Princes of Darkness.

In the last week before voting, everybody who has won in other games will be entered into a seven-night special X-Factor where the ultimate arbiter of taste and class, Simon Cowell, can do his famous look at the ceiling in exasperation.

CAPTION(S):

ON SCREEN: ... and tonight's contestants are (from left) Gordon, Dave and Nick
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2010
Words:739
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