Archive for the ‘Leader Debate 1’ Category

Leaders`Debate 15 April

vendredi, avril 16th, 2010

The general consensus following the 15th April debate between the three main party leaders is that Nick Clegg of the smaller Liberal-Democrats « won » round 1, benefiting as a relatively unknown, young, different and articulate outsider, from an overall disillusionment with politicians e.g. over the expenses scandal which impacted more Labour and the Conservatives, as represented on the night by the more familiar faces of Gordon Brown & David Cameron. Still, it is worth remembering that this is how David Cameron was first perceived after he emerged as the winner in the Conservative party leadership contest.
Gordon Brown came over as solid, talking numbers and experience and appealing to Labour voters. He at least tried to inject some humorous sound-bites into the proceedings (in the manner of Vince Cable in the previous debate) e.g. in referring to the airbrushing out of cuts, by the Conservatives as they had airbrushed their poster image of David Cameron, but this tended to fall flat with a hand-picked, studio audience not sure how to react given the multiple rules of the debate.
David Cameron was forced on the defensive in suffering from the double-edged sword of high expectations as the most polished performer on his feet but placed in the middle and attacked from both sides almost as the incumbent and certainly implicitly recognised by both the other parties as very much the front runner, with his the race to lose. Seemingly over-rehearsed, not his normal self and without the track record of Gordon Brown, he relied too much on quoting what he?d heard from various members of the public about their matters of concern. According to some reports, he also apparently erred at the end in talking about his own values which might appeal to Americans but not to a British audience more concerned about their own values.
This is only the first debate of three but if it signifies a small swing to the Liberal-Democrats it could hurt the Conservatives e.g. in the marginal seats they need to win in the south west of England. However, Labour should beware of encouraging too much of a swing in the hopes of a hung-parliament (Peter Mandelson was mentioned going around saying how well he thought Nick Clegg had performed!) since it could also impact their own vote in larger cities in the north of England such as Liverpool and Newcastle where the Liberal-Democrats have done well in local elections. Instead of the use of tactical voting to keep out the Conservatives, Liberal-Democrats could see their own candidate in with a chance and be tempted to vote for their own party instead of a negative vote for Labour.