"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Friday, 16 April 2010

No Surprises

Ladbroke's had Clegg as favourite to 'win' the Leaders' Debate so there were lots of happy punters at 10.05pm last night.  Clegg has nothing to lose by these debates but everything to gain and no chance of having to prove his policies as PM in a LibDem government so he did well but was rather superficial in a male-modelling pose sort of way.  He bombed on Trident (the first duty of any government is, or should be, the defence of these islands and their people) and he wasn't taken to task about the LibDem's proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants.  But, he was confident, spoke well in a way voters can relate to ('a plague on both their houses')  and looked like a contender if you didn't probe too deeply.

Cameron didn't sparkle, didn't follow up on accusations levelled against him and at times seemed to be biting his tongue.  He seemed constrained though whether it was by adhering to the 76 rules or a conscious decision to avoid the appearance of bullying or condescension is hard to say.  Calm and competent but uninspiring.  He has to do more to hammer the message home.  Like so many times over the past eighteen months he let Brown off the hook.  Disappointing.

Brown found it hard to stop talking and struggled to adapt to being told to shut up; he constantly over-ran and interrupted Cameron's flow.  His game-plan became obvious within the first ten minutes: "I agree with Nick..." became his leit-motif.  He went off-message at the end when he dived into the superfluous audience to shake hands; it was cringing to see Cameron and Clegg  momentarily discussing whether to follow suit, which they did.

All in all, it was at least a full hour before I yawned and looked at my watch.  Perhaps it would be best to look on this as a dry run for the other two debates and hope for better next week.

The Daily Politics has all the videos.
 LeftWatch has rebuttals of Brown and Clegg's claims
Quentin Letts has an interesting insight into the behind the scenes run-up.  "Charlie Whelan, Broon's almost comically villainous henchman, appeared on the horizon and Mancunian mothers hurried their children inside."
The Times verdict
The Telegraph verdict
The Guardian verdict

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