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Friday, 23 April 2010

Elections, leaders and debates - a Bluffer's Guide

As anyone who is anyone will know, I was in the 'van last Thursday and so only caught the leader debate assessments after the event via the relentless news coverage. And that coverage seemed to think that Clegg "owned the stage", to borrow from those cheeky X-Factor folks.

I was therefore very interested to see the second debate last night. We don't have any of that new-fangled Sky stuff down in Scobi Mansions, so we had to make do with the time-delayed BBC News 24 coverage. Once or twice we did hear a collective groan from various houses in the street, so knew that in about half an hour something of note was going to happen. Other than that, the delay had little effect.

I feel duty bound, therefore, to provide my input on the debate. I did sense that the "old parties", as Clegg kept referring to his fellow leaders, definitely seemed to have learnt something from the first debate, and each of them were much more even-handed in their distribution of beatings (and I will resist any dodgy references to fagging at Eton) and so that made for a bit more of a knockabout event.

There were a couple of interesting points from my perspective. The headlines from that morning's papers about Clegg barely featured. The compere did mention it once, and Clegg dismissed in a couple of seconds and moved on to what he wanted to say. None of "the old parties" brought it up, so I guess my comments yesterday were obviously read by them both, and they both agreed there was no mileage in it.

It was pretty difficult to find any great differences between their policies. Of course there are differences, but they do seem to be a drop whereas the big problems are an ocean.

Overall, the polls seem to make it a fairly close run thing between the three. Clegg may have got a couple of percentage points over the other two, but nothing to get too excited about. Having said that, in my opinion, the fact that he did not crumble means that he is still in the race.

So, where does that leave us? Those who are died-in-the-wool of any of the three colours will stay that colour, those who are floaters may well be swayed by personality, since they may well perceive there are no great policy differences, and those who just don't care may be slightly interested by a real three-horse race, but on the day of voting will probably choose This Morning over a visit to their local polling booth.

Have a good day one and all. Gotta get a hot cross bun and apple juice for maggot 2, and carry on with addressing my ever growing Inbox.

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