The World at One, Radio 4
The Vote Now Show, Radio 4

Post Duffy, we've got the politicians' number

Gordon Brown has a good face for radio, as the saying goes, if not a good face for left-on radio microphones.

In the wake of the Duffy debacle, I listened on iPlayer to the PM's World At One phone-in from the previous day. There was, inevitably, the whiff of dramatic irony as he dealt courteously with callers. The big question hung in the air: "What does he really think of them?"

Without hindsight, you felt that here was someone who cares: sincere, strong, good-hearted. On radio you can't see the pasted-on smiles, the gurning, the drop-jaw tic. In the leadership debates, apparently, listeners gave Brown a higher rating than viewers did. But for sheer slapstick no one can beat Nick Griffin explaining on Friday's World at One why he couldn't answer a caller's question on nationality without seeing him, for which read, knowing what shade he was.

On Radio 5 Live on Wednesday tea-time they discussed how David Cameron might capitalise on the "bigot" business in the final debate the next day. Like shooting fish in a barrel, one said. "Cameron has no need to shoot fish in a barrel when Brown's shooting himself in the foot," observed another.

On Wednesday's The Vote Now Show I was expecting Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis to take aim at the barrel and start blasting. But all we got was a couple of spoof mic gaffes, such as Churchill doing his "fight them on the beaches" speech then saying, "it's bollocks, but they love it". The rest felt stale only hours after the Mic Moment.

Best value was Kate Adie on past elections, when slightly embarrassing events were hardly reported. She recalled going around with Keith Joseph, from whom people visibly flinched. He was shunted into a branch of Woolworth's, scattering scared shoppers, and left by himself at the tills. "What've you got?" the check-out girl asked, waiting for him to pay. "We have tremendous plans for education," he informed her.

His Conservative descendants have plans for the BBC. It's their fish in a barrel. So if I might reiterate my recent plea: if you value the Beeb, don't vote Tory. Shoot them in the foot instead.

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