Daily catch-up: personality is so much more important than policies

All you need to know about the state of the election. Plus: puncturing the snowflake bubble

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The Independent Online

1. Snowflakes. They don’t look like that, they look like this. The New Scientist, trampling on our dreams.

2. Janan Ganesh was magnificent in the Financial Times yesterday. The best bit:

“We are meant to resent the focus on personality in politics. This is priggish. Personality does so much to determine a government’s performance that, if anything, we do not talk about it enough. In a country as centralised as Britain, the government of the day is a magnification of the prime minister’s character. By contrast, a manifesto says what a party would do in a world of favourable circumstances and zero disruption. We take these documents too seriously.”

He summarises the differences between David Cameron and Ed Miliband thus:

“Mr Cameron is serious but bloodless. Mr Miliband is passionate but flaky. The Prime Minister is something of a magistrate, keen on public service to no particular end. His rival believes in big causes, to a point verging on credulity.”

3. Marcus Roberts notes that Cameron is spooked by Ed Miliband, paying him the compliment of insulting him.

I think Cameron has been spooked by his own unpopularity, and has been working hard to be humble and less polished, but that means he hasn’t found his voice yet. Meanwhile YouGov reports that Miliband’s personal ratings have risen. “Would he or would he not be up to the job of PM?” has gone from net -36 to net -10. I don’t think this can be down to just one TV programme, the Paxman-Burley show last week. I suspect he has been more visible generally, especially on TV, including the two-kitchens story.

I also have a comment in today’s Independent on the things politicians cannot say.

4. This is good by Isabel Hardman, on the excluding mentality of politics insiders. I especially enjoyed her confession of her student life:

“In my fresher’s term I joined the student newspaper, the poetry society and something called High Heels and Handbags: a very well-subscribed club that went on shopping trips.”

5. In hung parliament news, Alasdair McDonnell, leader of the Northern Irish SDLP, which has three MPs who usually vote with Labour, said yesterday: “We will be the left-of-centre backbone of a Labour administration and along with the SNP and Plaid Cymru, will ensure that the next Labour government remains true to its values.”

6. And finally, our regular update from Moose Allain:

Animal Farm 2 – All Animals Are Sequel.”

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