Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I keep thinking: I must do a really big, meaty political blog. Thoughts race around in my head like bumper cars. Then I think: what have my poor readers ever done to deserve it?
It feels too sunny and springlike to have a meticulous debate post-mortem. All the professional political writers have done that, anyway. So I'm keeping it brief, today. The sun is shining like gangbusters, and the daffodils are properly out at last, and it's Friday. I find my thoughts straying to food.
I freely admit my prediction about Nick Clegg was wrong. Everyone says he won it, except for one grumpy man on the radio, and a couple of comments on the political blogs. I still have serious reservations about him as a politician. I find his blanket refusal to talk about a hung parliament shifty, and slightly hypocritical, when his big pitch is that he is the one person who trusts the voters enough to tell us the truth, unlike the other showers.
I thought David Cameron brought his B plus rather than his A game. I found his direct apology for expenses refreshing, and his closing statement strong. Visually, and visuals are important, as every fule no after Kennedy and Nixon, I thought he looked as if he would be plausible standing outside Number Ten. I have a secret suspicion that, when the dust settles, people will think he did better than the instant reaction suggests.
My judgement on Gordon Brown is clouded by the fact he kept saying 'less' when he meant 'fewer'. He certainly lost the pedants' vote for that. I know it should not matter, but when a party says education, education, education, it surely should have a leader who can speak the Queen's English with grace and correctness. He refrained from breaking out the weird smile, but instead did the empathy voice when talking of soldiers and old people, which I found equally phoney. As for his continuing claim that no one could have seen the global meltdown coming, well, Paul Krugman and the Canadians did. The Canadian banks stood strong like rocks. The Spanish banks also survived, due to strict regulations which protected them from wild punts on dodgy derivatives. I believed in Gordon very much once, but I believe in him no more.
I think there were two winners: democracy, and Twitter. The debate was generally courteous, lucid, and surprisingly free of sound bites. (I wish it had not been quite so free of women, but that's a story for another day.) The politicians did not dazzle, but they appeared serious and on top of their brief. The Twittersphere, by contrast, dazzled and shimmered and danced like all get out. I followed the entire debate on Twitter, and I never saw so many jokes, rants, and moments of surreal naughtiness in ninety minutes in my life. I did wonder if the Twitterers from abroad might have been slightly puzzled by the whole thing ('who is this Mister Leg?').
That's quite enough of that.
To celebrate the coming of spring and the first proper heat this year (we are sweltering in Scotland under a mighty 14 degrees, which is quite tropical for us) I made a lovely fresh salad for lunch. Inspired by a goat's cheese and toasted almond salad from the excellent The Kitchn blog, I invented a little version of my own:
I took a big handful of dark green leaves - baby spinach, rocket, lamb's lettuce, baby green and red romaine, and added a little celery and cucumber and radish, very finely sliced. The fine slicing is important, because the point of this salad is that it is elegant and delicate. I crumbled over some soft, tangy goat's cheese, and sprinkled a handful of toasted slivered almonds to finish. I dressed it with extra virgin olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, and some Maldon sea salt. (The Kitchn's version has honey in the dressing, which I do not like, personally, but if you crave a little sweetness in your salad that would be the way to go.)
And here it is:
Have a lovely Friday.