UK General Election 2010 #leadersdebate

Politics, like religion, is one of those tricky areas. An area where people can become quite heated as they defend their favoured political party; an area where people are quite often narrow-minded and biased because of their favouritism. I'd like to think when I come to politics I'm quite fair and impartial. This stems from reading International Relations at university - we were taught not to be biased, to reserve judgement, and to weigh up all sides before concluding.

But being an Anthropologist and having a Media background meant for me how they were presenting themselves would also be what I would be judging them on, rather than merely what they said. Presentation of self is so important, especially in the razzle dazzle age we live in. Plus, let's face it, what they said wasn't exactly nothing new.

The razzle dazzle thing got me thinking. Politicans expect us to have short-term memories, except when it comes to our so-called glory days and then they are perfectly happy to point us in the direction of their former successes. Brown trying to explain his importance in fixing the economy in his opening remarks wasn't exactly a selling point when:

Think before you speak, maybe? Some us do have memories, and Cameron got this immediately with his opening remarks:

See, Brown will always be in the weakest position when it comes to campaigning. Yes, he can point out Labour's successes, but whatever he claims he can do in the future, can always be countered with why hasn't he done it already.

It soon became apparent that the debate wasn't really a debate between Clegg, Cameron and Brown, and this is where Clegg's media training made him out-shine the other two:

Clegg consistently directed his answers to the question asker - plus mentioned their names in his closing remarks - and he stuck more to the question rather than going off on a political tangent like the other two. He personalised politics, which was a brilliant tactic humanising the Lib Dems. However, Cameron is good. He soon cottoned on to Clegg's game and followed suit:

Cameron showed his leadership skills from this mirroring, a skill Brown is lacking, despite being PM for nearly two years. Both Brown and Cameron side-tracked and were more concerned about scoring points off the other it seemed than doing an real debating/hard-selling. Cheap shots shone through for the Labour and Conservative party in this debate, which Clegg mostly stirred clear of.

Clegg did lose points for repetition though. Perhaps worried that no one knew who he was, he mentioned an extraordinary amount of times that he's the MP for Sheffield. His views on nuclear weapons and keeping the UK Trident programme was a little limited and, at times, he presented himself like a defiant schoolboy with his hands in his pockets. But, at least I have recalled he said this and what he did - Brown and Cameron sounded mostly like broken records throughout.

In fact, Brown reduced his closing remarks to popular culture, mentioning The X-Factor. You might be on ITV Brown, but this is politics. No wonder the country is in the state it is if you don't realise that politics shouldn't be fun, it isn't necessary to dumb down for your audience! We'd like you to be serious, please. As for Cameron, I expected more of a razzle dazzle finish with him as the last speaker. He had the perfect opportunity to undermine the other two by having the closing remark and he wasted it. Disappointing.

Based on the debate alone, the above is my conclusion. Perhaps because the focus tends to be on Brown and Cameron - and, indeed, I get the impression Brown and Cameron think it's a battle between themselves, though tonight might have alerted them to the fact it's not - I think it gave Clegg the chance to shine through. Sometimes waiting in the wings, so-to-speak, gives you the chance to figure out your opponents and tactically defeat them. Clegg showed that tonight, in my opinion.

Did you watch the debate? If so, what's your view on it?

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My worst job. EVER.

The worst job I ever had was only mine for two days. You'll soon see why!

For all those who have never been a temp, sometimes "temp" seems to equate to "dogsbody" with little, if any, respect had for you. Naturally, what the recruitment agency had neglected to tell me was, this company had used practically everyone on their books... I soon learnt why.

I was there to help clear a back-log of work. When I arrived there at the slightly gruelling time of 7am, I understood why there was this back-log - none of them did a bloody thing.

The offices were above the factory where you could peer down and see them make... shower bases. That's right, shower bases. I had never imagined someone actually made things like this but, then again, I had never really given it that much thought.

"What's that smell?" was my first question. There was no point in asking where the kettle was after I was immediately told that you NEVER leave your seat. If you did have to go to the loo, you had sixty seconds.

"You'll get used to it," was their reply.

By which they meant I would spend my sixty seconds throwing up from the over-powering resin smell and admiring the rash it induced in me. Admittedly, other than the sick feeling, the first morning wasn't that bad. I was only there to process invoices, which was pretty straight-forward, and I happily agreed to cover the phones and take messages whilst the girl who comprised the sales team took her lunch.

"Hello, X company."

"Can I speak to Sam?" a gruff-sounding man asked me.

I had no idea who Sam was, I hadn't exactly been given the grand tour, so decided a message was the safest way to play it. "I'm sorry, but he's away from his desk. Can I take a message, please?"

"Don't f-ing lie to me. He owes me money. Put him on the f-ing phone. NOW."

"I'm sorry," I cautiously replied, ears burning at the swearing. "He's not here."

"Well, you can sort my money out then, Laura."

"No, it's Elle. I'm the new temp. Everyone is out at lunch at the moment."

"Stop f-ing lying Laura. You amazingly have a f-ing new temp every other day. I want my money."

"No, really. I am the temp. It's my first day, and I'm sorry I can't help, but-"

"Stop f-ing fobbing me off Laura. How many more messages do I have to leave before I get my bloody money?"

And on it went. His tone getting more and more aggressive but, the problem is, I'm really polite. Stupidly polite. I sat there and took the abuse meant for someone else...

After the third phone call of this nature, I realised the company owed a lot of money. When the others came back into the office, I was told to continue answering the phones, take messages, and not put through the calls to the relevant people. Fun.

Day two was worse. At noon the office staff disappeared and told me I could go for lunch when they came back. They came back at 3.30pm meaning I'd just worked 8 1/12 hours solid without a break - not exactly legal, but they didn't really care. At this point, I was beyond hunger and feeling violently sick from the smell. All I wanted was some fresh air, but their office locking system meant if I left the office, I would need a key or someone else to let me back in. Neither of those were options for me.

When I finally got to leave for my break, all the local shops were closed, and I just wanted to cry. I mean, I’d spent the morning been abused on the phone whilst they went to the pub. Nice. On my return, I found them reading Closer magazine and a new pile of work on my desk, their work.

Unsurprisingly, after I got home and threw up some more from the toxic smell that seemed to be embedded up my nose and admired my ever-spreading rash, I didn't make it back for day three. The agency weren't surprised. My two days had been a record...

That experience was definitely my worst job ever, especially since they didn't even pay me all the money they should have. I hope I never suffer such levels of abuse, lack of respect, or that sort of physical reaction from my working environment ever again.

Have you had a horrid job? x

It's giveaway time!

It's time for my second book giveaway! Up for grabs are:

How to be Married by Polly Williams:

Sadie Drew thinks she must be the world’s worst wife. She only needs to walk into a room to make it untidy. She wears flannel pyjamas in bed. Furry things breed in her fridge. But she’s a busy working mother not a wifebot and husband Tom loves her as she is. Until he gets a hot new job and things change. There are alpha-wives to entertain. Nuclear rows. Unsettling secrets. And the smell of another woman’s perfume on his suit. Sadie risks losing everything if she can’t transform herself into the perfect wife ...

And Tess Stimson's What's Yours is Mine:

Like a princess in a fairytale, Grace Hamilton has been showered with blessings: professional success, a happy marriage, and she even lives in a beautiful castle. But the only thing she really wants - her heart's desire - is the one thing she can never have.

Her sister, the beautiful Susannah, has made a mess of her life. Like a reverse Midas, everything she touches turns to shit. But the Fate puts Grace's future in Susannah's hands, changing the balance of power between the sisters forever.

Anyone can enter, wherever you are in the world, and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment stating which book you'd like to win (you can say you'd like to win both!). Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you do win (e-mail address or Twitter name). The competition closes on April 28th. Good luck!
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