The last few days have seen a number of high profile contests. Each of them has been characterised through people whose style, behavior, attitude and force of personality, rather than the substance of their argument, carried the day.
Ferguson vs Mourhino.
Two of the world’s biggest sports brands met last week. Not Man U and Inter Milan, virtually ignored in headlines, but Ferguson and Mourhino. Masters of the media, their contrasting strengths of expression, angry one scornful the other, body language, immovable countering gesticulation, and tone, Scottish imperturbabilty against Portugese fluency captivated. The result a draw. ( Match also a draw!)
Obama vs Jindal.
Governor Bobby Jindal, 37, Rhodes scholar, son of Indian immigrants, is the rising Republican star and possible candidate in 2012. Responding to the budget speech in Congress, he was up against an Obama finding that “you campaign in poetry and govern in prose”. The prose was more than good enough to see off Jindal’s “hackneyed folksy message, delivered straight off autocue, in the robotic tones of a personal claims lawyer”.
Paxman vs Trimble.
University Challenge is a favourite programme, to the irritation of family as I shout success on the, rare, occasions of beating the buzzer. Normally, Paxman is the unopposed star of the show with his characteristic authorative delivery, interspersed with barely concealed distaste for ignorance. He met his match in Gail Trimble. The cleverest ever contestant’s natural and unaffected manner conquered Paxman.
Wogan vs BBC
Some eight million listeners start their day with the inimitable Terry Wogan. The easygoing, effortless charm, the self deprecating humour, the quirky banter, the unmistakable voice of a true radio genius. But a genius who understands his audience. Unlike his masters at the BBC, corporately sterile and out of touch. No wonder he’s thinking of quitting.