JANET STREET-PORTER: 'The Madman' who puts Britain's bland leaders in the shade: While the Rishi and Keir Show bores us to death, Argentina's chainsaw-wielding President is strutting his stuff on a rock stage

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July 4th looks so far away. For five-and-a-half weeks, we will be enduring the most boring election campaign in my lifetime. 

Two leaders who are as charismatic as a slap in the face with a wet kipper. And then there’s Richard Tice (yes, who?) and Ed Davey. Shame you can’t book an early holiday while the kids are still in school.

Voters are utterly bored with politics, fed up with promises and pledges. They feel let down and disillusioned. 

Worse, radical new legislation designed to ban future generations of kids from ever smoking (Rishi’s pet project) and long-awaited reforms to protect private tenants have been dumped – so how can the main contenders in this battle of the worthy bores persuade us to put our crosses by their party on polling day?

Day two of the election and already it’s as exciting as watching paint dry. Yesterday, Rishi used a chartered jet to visit three of the nations in the UK in 24 hours, never removing that confident smile for an instant. 

Javier Milei gets into a frenzy on stage during a launch of his new book in Buenos Aires

Javier Milei gets into a frenzy on stage during a launch of his new book in Buenos Aires 

Even Rylan smiles less than the PM, and I suspect they’ve both been to the same dentist. Note to PM: sometimes a full-fanged grin can seem a little unhinged, even desperate. As in Rishi addressing a sullen group of warehouse workers in Derbyshire as if he’s on stage at Wembley fronting Guns N’ Roses.

Meanwhile, Keir launched the Labour campaign from Gillingham Football Club in Kent, and didn’t even bother to tell their only MP in the county to attend, perhaps fearful that stroppy Rosie Duffield might steal his limelight. 

On day two Rishi took the Presidential jet to visit a technology centre in Belfast while Keir addressed building maintenance workers in Glasgow. Who chooses these venues, which look as exciting as an Amazon warehouse? Ed Davey was promoting the Lib Dem brand by eating a yellow ice cream in Eastbourne and promising we can all see a GP within seven days.

Yawn. But there is another way to do politics – South American-style. At the same time as Rishi (smiling, naturally) was rapturously receiving a new umbrella from one of his MPs, the President of Argentina was leaping about on stage with a hard-rock band whipping up an adoring crowd of 8,000 fans. 


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Javier Milei (known as El Loco – the Madman) was channelling Sid Vicious in black leather, screaming ‘we can’t stop fighting otherwise the lefties will destroy us’.

Action man, former university professor and punk rocker Milei received 56% of the vote in last November’s Presidential election, promising to turn around a country rich in resources but mired in corruption and debt. 

For decades, politicians had squandered billions of pesos and now Argentina is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, with almost two-thirds of the population living in poverty and inflation running annually at 300%.

Milei is a President unlike any other: an economics professor and author for over 20 years, he became notorious for his over-the-top sweary TV rants during lockdown, and was dubbed El Loco – the madman. His motto is simple: THERE IS NO MONEY.

His policies are extreme. He’s cancelled all public subsidies, stopped all public construction projects and plans to lay off 70,000 government workers. 

He devalued the peso by 50% and plans to switch to the US dollar when the situation is stable. All government support for the poor and needy has been stopped. 

Teachers have been on strike three times, claiming they cannot afford to eat. Workers complain they cannot afford to travel to their jobs. Retailers have stopped putting price tags on merchandise and any trip to the shops requires carrying a large bag of cash.

Rishi Sunak returns from a boat tour during his visit to a maritime technology centre in Belfast

Rishi Sunak returns from a boat tour during his visit to a maritime technology centre in Belfast 

Sir Keir Starmer today during the launch of the Scottish Labour general election campaign at Caledonia House

Sir Keir Starmer today during the launch of the Scottish Labour general election campaign at Caledonia House

Is Milei really bonkers or an inspired genius? During his election campaign he carried around a chainsaw, claiming he would use it to hack through corruption. 

He communicates ‘telepathically’ with his five cloned bull-mastiff dogs (although one died years ago, aides are too scared to mention there are now only four) and has revealed God told him to run for the presidency.

There’s no doubting Milei’s intelligence and command of economics, but his grip on the reality of everyday life for ordinary Argentinians might be more tenuous. 

He sees himself as a rock god doing a massive clean-up job in the dirty business of politics. During his rapid rise to the top he has never been short of head-grabbing putdowns. 

He slagged off Pope Francis (the first Argentinian to lead the Catholic church), calling him a ‘leftist son of a bitch’. 

He recently upset the Spanish Prime Minister, dubbing him ‘totalitarian and arrogant’ and describing his wife as corrupt. Spain has withdrawn their ambassador permanently, but Milei doesn’t seem bothered.

Janet Street-Porter calls the UK election campaign 'as exciting as watching paint dry'

Janet Street-Porter calls the UK election campaign ‘as exciting as watching paint dry’

His latest book on radical economics has been trashed by left wing critics, so he withdrew from the literary festival where he was scheduled to launch it with a speech, staging an alternative ‘fiesta of freedom’ in the Luna Park stadium in Buenos Aires, where Frank Sinatra and Duran Duran once graced the stage and it even hosted footballing legend Diego Maradona’s wedding reception. 

Now, the country’s most powerful politician was strutting his stuff and screaming expletives. An act so outrageous Rishi and Starmer might dream of being rock gods, this guy does it.

Time Magazine described 53-year-old Milei as the worlds’ most eccentric head of state. Nigel Farage says his austerity campaign is ‘Thatcherism on steroids’. The President hates lefties, communists, isn’t keen on environmental issues or gender equality laws. And yet he won the election by a landslide with a right-wing coalition and has never been out of the news. Voters are riveted by this narcissistic force of nature.

For the moment, though, his extreme tactics to solve the economic woes facing Argentina are causing pain and hardship – and how long will they need to continue? Inflation has continued to rise, but far more slowly. 

Meanwhile, his sister Karina – a former tarot card reader – guards access to the President, who is up every night until the small hours mouthing off on social media. Sounds familiar?

How very different to boring, bland – but still almost as broke – Britain.

Time Magazine described 53-year-old Milei as the worlds' most eccentric head of state, writes Janet Street-Porter

Time Magazine described 53-year-old Milei as the worlds’ most eccentric head of state, writes Janet Street-Porter 

The Tories called an election because they couldn’t offer tax cuts. There is no money – we’re down to our last £6 billion. Labour can’t promise handouts or exciting new policies for the same reason.

So far, the forthcoming election is all about what’s NOT happening. Starmer has rowed back on banning tuition fees. He’s not keen on removing the cap on two child benefits either. 

In fact, four of the pledges he made when campaigning to be leader have been dumped. Rishi made five promises to us last summer- the boats are still coming, NHS waiting lists are still appalling, debt has risen. Inflation has come down- but what’s the use if rents are still rising?

Our election is a dreary recital of negatives and vague promises of ‘change’. Argentinians have opted for an exciting rock god masquerading as a politician – offering not change but revolution.

Just be grateful we don’t have to live there.