I'm getting quite excited by the prospect of the general election. As a political anorak/ junkie I can't wait for all the accompanying coverage and gossip. Excitingly, this time we're even going to have three "presidential" debates. One thing is for sure, I'm going to be ready to cast my vote. I'm even going to be a little more informed than usual, thanks to my unusual interaction with all three party leaders in the past couple of years.
I met Gordon Brown when I was in Beijing covering the Olympics. If I'm honest, I was a little more interested in ogling Leona Lewis and observing David Beckham, but I did meet our dear leader.
I've told the story before – how I had my photo taken with him by somebody who couldn't manage to focus the camera. I was nearly left with a blurry fuzz of a photo memory of my big night out with Gordon. Fortunately, Sarah Brown noticed what had happened and came to my aid. Announcing that the men were all a little drunk and unable to take a photo, she took one herself and it was great. The Prime Minister seemed a little dépassé par les événements, but his consort was very impressive. If she was standing, then I would definitely consider voting her way.
Then I met "Dave" Cameron at Jeremy Clarkson's New Year's Eve party (where else?). To his obvious horror, he ended up sitting at the same table as me and so I was able to have a good look at him. My judgement, for what it's worth, was that he was very bland. Intelligent – sure, motivated – definitely; but he registered very low on the charisma factor and seemed somehow too ordinary to be about to take charge of the country. If I had met him and not known who he was, I would have guessed at maybe a media accountant or a moderately successful banker. He wasn't offensive in any way but actually, I sort of wish he was – it would give him a bit of oomph.
His other half, although very glamorous, appeared to be quite aloof – not the sort of person I'd imagine helping out with a photo – although possibly one of her staff might be instructed to do so.
I crossed paths with Nick Clegg when Simon Mayo announced that the Liberal Democrat leader was going to appear on his radio show and did anybody have any questions? I jokingly tweeted one: "Is it not profoundly depressing, doing a job that holds out absolutely no hope of power and do you take antidepressants to combat this?" It was a bit of a cheap question and I really didn't expect it to be asked on the radio. But it was.
To his credit, Clegg not only took it on the chin, but had a good stab at replying. And not only that, but it now looks as if we just might be heading for a hung Parliament, in which case he could actually wield some power. A couple of weeks later, I got an invitation from Clegg to a party at the House of Commons to celebrate the "world of Arts and Entertainment". Here was my chance to complete the Big Three. I could then make my choice at the general election from personal observation of the three potential recipients of my vote.
I was up in London the night before and had a good night out before staying at my mum's and feeling a little like a 14-year-old and so not old enough to vote. I was going to hang about and then head off to the House of Commons that evening. In the end, however, I was a tad hung-over and, frankly, couldn't be arsed. I caught the train back home to the Cotswolds and watched telly instead. So much for being enthused and energised by modern politics. Ah well, got to go: Eggheads is on.Reuse content