- lacks liveliness and is fundamentally boring to viewers,
- makes for tedious television that, in the age of remote control, is all too easy to escape from by pressing a button, and
- has contributed towards the increasingly dim view that the decreasing number of people who bother to vote have of politicians - who are most commonly seen evading the questions put to them.
Will 2010 be the first general election with no speeches, no rallies and no excitement?
Given the benefits that can come from making speeches to enthusiastic crowds (look no further than the success of Barack Obama's journey from nowhere), I remain completely baffled by the logic of our politicians’ apparent preference for doing endless interviews rather than letting us judge what they want to say and how they want to say it to audience at lively rallies.
After all, if you're going to play Snakes and Ladders, why on earth would you chose to spend all your time landing on Snakes and avoiding the Ladders altogether?
The answer, I fear, is that our politicians have fallen into a bigger trap set for them by a mass media that's more obsessed with increasing their control and decreasing their costs than they are with what audiences find boring or interesting about politics and politicians. Otherwise, how could anyone get so excited about the dreary prospect of lengthy televised election 'debates' between party leaders?
But accountants at the BBC, ITV and Sky News, of course, have every reason to get excited by the hustings being transferred to television studios. The fewer reporters and camera crews they have to send to film speeches at rallies around the country, the lower their costs will be - the net result of which looks like being the most tedious and boring election on record.
Fewer snakes and more ladders, please!
If I were still active in advising a political leader, I'd be urging him to ignore the new rules set by a misguided media and to get back on the road. And I don't mean just walking around a few schools, hospitals and shopping centres. I mean holding proper rallies, making inspiring speeches, creating some excitement and building some momentum.
The media would have no choice but to cover them, and the wider public would surely find them a bit more lively than more and more interviews in which we have to wait longer and longer, on the off-chance that someone will slip up and make it interesting enough to become news.