The Sketch: No 10 tries to reach right into voters' brains with its YouTube project

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The Independent Online

Here follows Downing Street's headline promo for Ask the PM. This is a New Media project getting the Government's message out to hard-to-reach and probably digital young people. It's modern, it's interactive, it's run by electricity. It's like a live line, they must have reasoned, directly plugged into voters' brains.

Downing Street, on its site, comments: "One question saw 'Jazza' ask the Prime Minister what he could do for the country that nobody else could. The PM replied that he was determined and focused on changing the country and on giving everyone the chance to make 'the most of their talents'."

The quote marks round Jazza are particularly good. Ask the PM demonstrates concisely how bad they are at saying things that people want to hear.

Imagine you are interested in cars. You want to hear about the speed, the cornering, the squealing blonde in the passenger seat whose knickers are flying from the aerial. But all your companion talks about is how the dashboard fastenings in his Mondeo come from Mexico, and what rust protection system is best for the spare tyre housing.

So with politics. You want to heal the world, cool the atmosphere, halt genocide, spread democracy... and Gordon says he's supporting a strategy of regional mediation to bring about change.

He tends, lovingly, the vast machinery of government. In his G8 statement yesterday he talked about "an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Co-operation" as though it was going to help one iota. He's not even an engineer any more, he's a mechanic. I don't mean to insult mechanics.

He announced that they had agreed "not just to consider but to adopt as a long-term goal" the halving of carbon emission in 42 years' time. But would there be "interim targets"? He said they'd agreed on the need to have interim targets. To those who have ears for these things, that's a No.

In the same way, we heard that more than $30bn (£15bn) worth of Gleneagles pledges were unlikely to be met. Would the money be paid as promised? The G8 was, David Cameron quoted, "in a tortuous phrase, 'firmly committed to working towards fulfilling our commitments'". That's another No.

Gordon made much of these and similar agreements as "specific, concrete proposals". But in G8 terms, concrete proposals are the step between grand declarations of purpose – and deciding to do something else. The PM loves this discourse as much as the way of life. He can't understand why we don't all love it as much as he does. Think man! Think!

NB: Go on to YouTube and search "Ask the Porn Master". A 13-year-old boy makes a very good fist of asking the PM how he got into porn. "Did you xxxx someone's xxxx while having a xxxx?" he asks. He should hang his head! (Gordon, I mean, obviously.)

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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