Leaders Debate – episode two
Polls call it for Cameron
I watched last night’s Leaders Debate and found it a bit more meaty than the first episode, Cameron and Brown were a bit more animated, there was a bit more passion and perhaps a little anger from Cameron, Brown was a bit more confident in front of the camera, Clegg was just Clegg. The thing with Clegg is you can tell he’s a consummate lobbyist he performs so easily in front of the camera and is basically comfortable in his own skin, his problems arise when there is more scrutiny applied to his policies!
As I watched it and listened to the three closing statements I felt that Brown was already looking and sounding tired, Cameron and Clegg looked more strengthened by the end of the ninety minutes, I called it just about neck and neck between Cameron and Clegg, although Brown was pretty strong at the outset. So the post debate polls give round two to Cameron, which may give the Conservatives a filip over the weekend, but let’s hope that this weekend is not as flat as last weekend when the whole election campaign virtually disappeared off the radar after the volcanic cloud wafted over the nation’s journalists!
I’m hoping for a bit of a hummdinger in the third and final round, Brown and Cameron are both at their best when they are let off the leash and the anger and passion explodes unscripted as they go “off message”, rather like some of the exchanges at the Despatch Box, in these circumstances Clegg will be completely overshadowed’ and the leader of the old Liberal Democratic Party (which started life as the Whigs in 1678) will begin to sound hollow as he moans about “the two old parties”. I know that people’s memories don’t stretch that far back, but some of us can remember the Lib-Lab Pact which kept Jim Callaghan’s Labour government alive for a few months longer in 1977, and there were three such other pacts previously. So think on if you wish to vote for the Lib-Dems, they are actually one of the oldest parties, it is Labour who are the newcomers and the Libs have a history of helping Labour to retain power!
What probably swung it for Cameron last night was his resonance with the British people on two main issues, Europe and immigration, I think he recognises more than the other two leaders that these are subjects which really get under the skin of a lot of people, and they are issues which need to be dealt with in a way which brings some sort of satisfaction to the man in the street. Rightly or wrongly many believe that the uncontrolled influx of workers from the EU and non EU countries is preventing British born from getting employment, there is much argument about whether or not it is right to agree to work for remuneration which is below the minimum wage, and a lot of myth is attached to some arguments. However, Cameron hit the right notes, as he did too on the issue of the EU and the promise never to hand over further powers to Brussels without offering the British people a say in a referendum in future.
He also scored strongly by directly calling Brown a liar over the deliberate scare tactics used in some of Labour’s election material (more on that later), his direct approach coupled with his anger and passion came across rather well.
Perhaps the best real debate of the evening with real ding dong hell for leather go for it style was between South Shields MP David Miliband (adding to his stay away from Shields miles) and former Liberal leader Lord “Paddy” Ashdown, on the nuclear deterrent issue in the post debate analysis – hot stuff!
South Shields debate
Just a reminder that there will be an open debate between the main contenders in South Shields tomorrow night in St. Hilda’s church in the Market Place. Start time is 7:30 pm and it is scheduled to last until 9:00 pm, why not get along and join in.
You can also expect to see the Conservative candidate for South Shields, Karen Allen in King Street (under the Metro bridge) from 10:30 am Saturday morning, I gather there will also be appearances from Mr. Miliband and other political groups in the town centre tomorrow.