1. David Cameron
The Workers vs. Shirkers trope has somewhat receded from the political gaze following its zenith in 2012/13. Nevertheless, the Tories’ prioritisation of ‘Hardworking People’ remains a cornerstone of their election strategy. The Conservatives frequently deplore those who stigmatise bankers and bosses, accusing them of practicing the ‘politics of envy’. Their alternative? To promise a £3,000 reduction in the benefits cap if they are re-elected in 2015. In his 2012 Party Conference address, George Osborne bemoaned the plight of “the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next-door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits." The politics of envy, George? Certainly not.
2. Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband has an image problem, and the Labour Party is well aware of it. In November last year, the Labour leader’s approval rating plummeted to an all-time low: - 55. Even lower than parliament’s pantomime villain, Nick Clegg. It has recently been reported that Miliband’s shadow chancellor, Ed Balls (a man not known for his widespread public popularity), does not believe that Red Ed has what it takes to lead the party. Having run with the ball at the start of the campaign, Miliband has since dropped the ball, tripped over the ball, and let others repetitively volley the ball into his midriff.
3. Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage, UKIP Leader and darling of the fanatical Eurosceptic right, has strenuously denied his own racial prejudice and that of his party. UKIP is "colour blind", he asserts. However, and there is always a however, members of his party have regularly been lambasted by ‘liberal elites’ for their deeply suspect attitudes towards minority groups. Janice Atkinson, a UKIP MEP and the party’s spokesperson on women, described a Thai constituent as a “ting tong from somewhere” in August 2014. UKIP may merely pass this incident off as ‘racial banter’, but much more insidious incidents (a UKIP councillor allegedly having stated that she had a problem with “negroes” because there is “something about their faces,” for example) have left the party with little moral ground to stand on. As for Farage? He (in)famously commented that he would be worried if a group of Romanian men moved in next door – a statement Ed Miliband described as a “racial slur”. Although, maybe we are being too severe. Perhaps ‘Kippers are not racist. After all, some of their best friends come from Bongo Bongo Land.
4. Nick Clegg
The shining beacon of clean, honest politics. The fresh face bringing a more human approach to a stale two-party system. Five years ago, Nick Clegg wooed the public in the inaugural T.V. election debates. In the 2010 general election, his party secured 23% of the popular vote, just 6% shy of Labour. Now, in 2015, it seems almost cruel to criticise the Lib Dem leader. When entering a coalition with the Conservatives, Clegg abandoned his pledge to vote against a rise in tuition fees, and has since been widely regarded as an inept counter-balance to the Conservatives. Despite an apology-come-pop-song, a series of one-on-one debates with Nigel Farage and a T.V. appearance on The Last Leg, Clegg’s personal ratings have remained subterranean, and the Lib Dems are likely to lose 30 of their 56 Commons seats. At least he hasn’t been referred to as a “lying, two-faced swine”. Oh… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2995261/Nick-Clegg-s-fury-overhears-Sky-News-presenter-calling-lying-two-faced-swine.html
5. Natalie Bennett
Speaking on BBC Sunday Politics in January, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett demonstrated to all schoolchildren why, firstly, you should do your revision and, secondly, why you should make sure your sums add up in maths exams. Bennett did neither, and was skewered by Andrew Neil on the topic of a ‘Citizens’ Income’, which would leave a £200 billion budget black hole if implemented as the Greens suggest. Apparently this encounter illuminated the absurdity of the policy to the party, and Caroline Lucas subsequently withdrew it from the Greens’ upcoming manifesto. Suffering similar media treatment in February, Bennett executed another elementary blunder: repeating a mistake. In an “excruciating” interview with LBC, Bennett stumbled and stuttered, unable to explain how her policy of 500,000 new social homes would be funded. Perhaps it would be wise to buy a calculator before going on any more interviews.