Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Surprise? Really?

The BBC and others have described Ming's decision as a "surprise".

While I am gratified that the description "surprise" at least gives some leeway for Ming's decision to be regarded as his own in respect, at least, to its precise timing, I am surprised that the "media" are surprised.

In Brighton at the conference last month, Ming gave 70 media interviews and was asked about his age in every single one of those interviews. (I might add that when Ming was interviewed by the LibDem Blogger of the Year shortlisters, none of us asked him about his age - according to my notes and recollection).

So, why the "surprise"?

In their last 70 interviews with the press, have the media challenged Delia Smith, Dick Cheney, Nick Nolte or Bob Dylan about their age? They are, you guessed it, the same age as Ming.

Many individual members of the media are hugely intelligent and discerning. But, and I don't judge whether this is good or bad, there is a "pack behaviour" thing with the media these days related to the "narrative" which it collectively attaches to any given subject at any given time. This pack behaviour can be, at times, described as absolutely brainless.

If anything ended Ming's leadership career, it was the "narrative". Political death by narrative.

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