Thursday, 15 April 2010

The First Debate

Against the odds, riveting TV! I started, as did we all, waiting for the first gaff, sweaty moment or watch-glance. Well, actually, I think I saw Gordon check his watch whilst Dave was speaking, about 11 mins in - the first move, I reckon, in a strategy to rebrand him as a knowing post-ironic icon. His first joke, possibly the only one of the night, came six minutes later, thanking the Tories for showing him smiling in some of their hatchet-wielding posters; he did smile, over the 90 minutes, quite a lot more than the other two, often quite disarmingly.

So, how did they do? Well, all three very well, given the circs etc. Brown was as relaxed as I've ever seen him (I chose those words carefully). Clegg played to his considerable sixth-form debating society skills. And Cameron - well, he didn't come over as all that toffish really. Although, on body language, he was definitely the worst, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here - whereas Nick and Gordon could turn sideways to give the impression of listening when anyone else was speaking, David, being in the middle, couldn't really manage this trick without giving an impression of a failed hula hoop player. But staring straight stonefacedly ahead did come dangerously close to a Nixon moment once or twice.

On content: I thought I heard a few radically new proposals from Gordon, but I'm afraid I haven't had time to read any of the manifestos yet, and there certainly wasn't any clear blue water (cliche-watch: nobody's said that yet!). The NIC/JobTax thingie came up a couple of times - I really don't understand why Gordon doesn't nail this once and for all by proving, as he can, that it will make hardly any difference to employment levels and is a blatant political ploy by the Tories' business allies - but that aside, the fact is that there really isn't much space for game-changing political tub-thumping manoeuvre. Not until we get this economy stuff sorted out, anyway. And then we won't need it.

The key buzz-phrase, though, does seem to have been 'I agree with Nick'. Let's see how that plays next time.

1 comment :

  1. What concerns me is that you read all the parties’ manifestos in detail, you listen to the PPB’s (party political broadcasts), you watch the TV debate, you make up your mind who you are going to vote for, possibly based on their policies rather than their looks and then you open the newspaper the next day to find some journalist calling them liars and saying 'that’s not what they are going to do at all – what they say really means something completely different!!!'

    So how are we supposed to decide who is best for this country? Do we believe the politicians or the journalists? I can’t help thinking a little bit of each of the parties wouldn’t be a bad idea – a hung parliament perhaps? Bring on proportional representation, I say!! So you can’t kick out a bad government in favour of another one? So what, if no-one can agree what makes a good government, why not take a little bit of each party so that the extreme views are diluted by the softer views and vice versa.

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