The Prime Ministerial Debates

I’m not sure the final debate, centred on the economy, was the highlight of my week by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps three debates was a little much, though I suspect the number had a lot to do with TV politics. I have to say, though, that the BBC made the best of a beautiful venue and it did lend a certain gravitas to the proceedings as the final week of the campaign begins.

So who won? As I said last week, I don’t think it’s possible to win what is essentially a glorified episode of Question Time. On the other hand, pollsters asked the question and the BBC News report afterwards said that two polls (YouGov and ComRes, I believe) both put David Cameron as the winner, although ComRes put it as a much more close-run thing between Cameron and Nick Clegg. Sadly, the BBC didn’t give us the exact figures.

Actually, I do think Cameron came across best in this debate. However, he did it by appearing to be only slightly less of a weasel than Clegg and Gordon Brown. I put it to you all that politicians think, at best, that we don’t listen and, at worst, that we’re stupid. Brown has banged on for three weeks that the Tories’ government spending cuts will amount to £6 billion being taken out of the economy without explaining how this is the case. Furthermore, he has tried to make out that the Tories will scrap public service guarantees and old age benefits just because keeping them isn’t in the Conservative manifesto. Any idiot can see that promising to keep the status quo is a waste of paper, therefore not directly making that promise doesn’t amount to a plan to change it. Likewise, Clegg continued his ill-advised attack on Cameron’s immigration cap. He asked for a “yes or no” answer as to whether or not free European migration makes such a cap a nonsense. Just as it looked like he was dodging it, Cameron pointed out that it’s a two-part plan that involves controlled integration of new member nations like Poland to stop similar floods. I could see at that point that Clegg was asking a nonsensical question, and I’m sure the studio audience and the viewers at home could see it, too. And then the Liberal Democrat leader had the cheek to take his usual “holier than thou” stance and accuse the other two of “political points-scoring”. This isn’t to say that Cameron managed to float above it all, either. In fact, he made the mistake of the first debate all over again by descending into bickering with Brown on a couple of occasions.

Overall, I’d say Brown got his tack wrong – he hasn’t learned that negative campaigning turns off the viewers (if not the voters). Clegg and Cameron mostly remained positive and I reckon that’s what’s keeping them ahead both in the debates and the polls.

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~ by Scary Rob on 2 May, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Prime Ministerial Debates”

  1. http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2657

    This is a summary of all the insta polls from Thursday Night.

    Andrews’ Site is an excellent source for polling updates – he also works for YouGov

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