It was back in the early sixties that television started changing the game for aspiring politicians. Success was less a function of clever policies and more a function of good looks, good hair and good body language. JFK , in the first television debates out scored ‘sweaty’ Nixon among viewers. The listening radio audience preferred Nixon.
Which of today’s stars are grateful this is the age of television? David Cameron, Bob Crowe (formidable, Alex Ferguson without the gum) Boris Johnson, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg (without television there would be no Clegg as we now know him or indeed a Coalition).
And which must regret that radio is no longer mainstream? Ed Milliband, David Milliband, George Osborne, Ed Balls (better unseen but still bullying) and of course Gordon Brown (he of the velvet voice).
One of the characterisics shared by the television groupies is Cameron’s knack of being seen as ‘comfortable in his own skin’. They are able even under intense public scrutiny to express themselves as naturally as they do in normal conversation with the same animated body language.
All of the radio heads would benefit from some wise words of Olivia Mitchell :The 5-step cure for boring body language