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The final leaders debate…where does leave it us?

April 30th, 2010 Posted in Election, UK Politics by

After all the controversy that has emerged about these “leaders debates polls” and whether – after the Sky debate – at least one polling company ran its polling BEFORE Nick made his closing remarks …I sit wondering what the “who won the debate” polls actually tell us.

One has sympathy for the polling companies – it’s a new format – the polls are under pressure to deliver and deliver fast – so I can see that they may struggle to do it perfectly in order to do it quickly. Then again maybe they have all done it perfectly ..(in which case at least one of them needs a better PR company)..Ah well it will all come out in the wash I am sure…

And of course each party has spun itself silly trying to persuade the nation why their guy “won”.  And the newspapers will slavishly follow their political masters….  The Sun will gun for Clegg, The Telegraph will call it for Cameron etc etc.

For the first time tonight I watched the debate with an audience – with about 50 or 60 Liberals to be precise. It is infinitely more difficult to draw sound conclusions when surrounded by partisan Liberals cheering on Nick’s every word (though it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience).

So I am not attempting to “call it” tonight.

I have two observations however…

1. I think this debate will have half the impact of last week’s debate - which in turn had half the impact of the first one. Most will already have made up their mind prior to this evenings debate and barring a total cock up tonight (which there wasn’t- that was demonstrably yesterday’s story) I doubt there was anything there to change people’s minds.

2. Politicians and papers still seem not to have woken up to the fact that the people of this country are sick to death of  the old-school confrontational, attack-style politics. I noticed tonight that when Cameron attempted to have a go at Nick about the Liberals immigration policy, Camerons line (the “worm”) went into the negative. When Nick talked about getting all three parties chancellors together to agree the size of the debt and a plan to sort out this economic mess – Clegg’s line shot up.

People want consensus..they want the politicians heads knocking together to sort this mess out …. they are tired of cheap political point scoring… and bored with negative attacks from the Parties pet newspapers on their rivals. 

So whilst I find it hard to call who won the debate tonight - as Iwatched amongst eager, upbeat Liberals – I think it is clear, however much David Cameron (and tonight Gordon Brown) might object, that people WANT a hung parliament…they WANT consensus politics….they WANT a different way of doing politics in this country. I think they will get it. And I think that was determined within 24 hours of the first TV debate.    

(Oh and lest there be any doubt about this,  my view on the Liberals policy on limiting bankers bonus’ is that it is populist nonsense).

5 Responses to “The final leaders debate…where does leave it us?”

  1. Ross Says:

    What I personally found interesting about last night’s debate (if you can call these debates) was that is was a bit more fiery, and it was well managed by David D. The problem for me is that I am bored of them and didn’t care. I remember after the first debate thinking that we’ve got two more of these and three more weeks of campaigning.

    As for performances, I agree with the polls that it was Cameron’s night. But they all looked exposed regarding cuts and immigration. Clegg looked weak on this “amnesty” for illegal immigrants – a vote loser. And although I understand the reasons for this policy, it’s not me that the LDs are trying to convince and Cameron succeeded, in my opinion, in undermining this policy. But fair play to Nick on his attack on Cameron regarding capping immigration. Brown came across during the whole evening as angry, and negative.

    During the post-analysis, the most telling moment from last night was the positive response from the voters when Clegg mentioned about working to solve the economic mess, and the negative response from the voters to when Cameron attacked Clegg on one of the issues. This suggests that people do want cross-party politics. And as Janet Street-Porter said last night on Question Time, if we do have a hung parliament then the politicians are going to have to “grow up”. Something I agree with.


  2. Jane Says:

    Nick Clegg did ok last night but he needs to find some new things to say to keep the Lib Dems at the top of the agenda in the final week of the campaign. Some of the language is sounding a bit repetitive now. Whatever happens it has been an exhilarating experience to hear the liberal argument put and listened to.

    On immigration I would be inclined to say that if you are trying to clean up a system you have to begin by drawing a line in the sand. For example Man Utd eventually cleaned up its season ticket holders list by offering an amnesty to people who currently had season tickets which they had ‘inherited’. The alternative is not mass deportation. Nobody knows where any of these people are and bluntly no party is going to devote massive resources to finding them. The amnesty idea does in fact have some support e.g. Boris Johnson and Dianne Abbott!


  3. Charlie Says:

    Aa Mark Twain said ” A man who has reputation for getting up at dawn can aford to get up at midday”. Once the British people see an effective border police in action, clamping down on fake education establishments and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records, then they may believe the LDs on immigration.


  4. Michael Vigor Says:

    Re Immigration Amnesty Con party and Labour lies: (see the Guardian 24 April p14 ‘Back-door’amnesty in place for 20 years’).
    Summary – informal amnnesty after 14 years residence has been in place under both Con and labour governments since 1980s and has now been formally defined by the court of appeal as a ‘Statute of limitation’ and upheld it’legality. Additionally between 1991 and 1993 c22,000 were amnestied as were a huge backlog of o/s students in 1996. In 1998 Jack Straw amnestied 30,000 asylum seekers, the LSE estimates that a 150,000 more were given official status between 2003 and 2007 and the UK Border Agency going through a back-log of 450;00 has already amnestied 74,000.So something over 296,000 have already been amnestied – all Nick is doing is suggesting reducing the 14 year rule to 10 years.

    So lets be honest about the other 2 parties – call them what they – the Con party (as it always has been), and Labour – the betrayers of Britain.

    And also lets not forget – both of the parties parasites and creatures have dined at the jackal’s tables and danced to the jackal’s tune!


  5. Dell Knipper Says:

    The very root of your writing while appearing reasonable initially, did not really work very well with me personally after some time. Someplace within the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a short while. I nevertheless have a problem with your leaps in logic and one would do well to fill in all those breaks. In the event you can accomplish that, I will surely end up being amazed.


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