Friday, 23 April 2010

Election: Debate Take 2

I can't be bothered with as long a description as I gave last time, it doesn't seem as exciting what with the first debate out of the way, but Liam was nice enough to post a link to here promising my spin on it so here goes. This was the turn of foreign affairs, but the real talking points were in relation to the last debate, would Cameron live up to the hype he failed to in the first one, would Brown be stronger and try to add some style, could Clegg really do it again?

In the opening statements the leaders again stated where they stood, Brown went for his traditional 'I'm not stylish, but I have substance' approach, Cameron for his 'we need a Tory government to get out of this mess' line and Clegg did his 'we've let our values go' and 'we need to lead in the EU' stances. So far, all as expected, no-one can really score points when they repeat what we already know about them, but a solid start. Before I get onto the debate, I should let you know, I'm very pro-european and think climate change is a very important issue that we aren't doing nearly enough about internationally, so you may see a slight slant in how I judge the leaders.

The three leaders pretty much went along with what we already knew here. Cameron started with saying we should be in the EU for trade, but that he thought too many powers had been taken away from Westminster which he wanted to take back. Clegg up next said that although the EU wasn't perfect, we needed to be in it in order to compete against other big dealers in the world. Brown said that many jobs depend on being in the EU, and that it strengthens our economy. Both Brown and Clegg attacked the Torie's on their 'wacky' partners in the EU, a reference to the newly formed grouping that the conservatives have joined after leaving the EPP, the new group involves some very dodgy people from the far right. Result: No real winner, although Cameron could be seen as loser, his place in EU is extremely dodgy, staying in the EPP would have given him a lot more clout on this issue. Clegg has been in the EU as an MEP and so knows how it works, he's pretty knowledgeable and Brown seems to recognise the benefits as well.

Pretty boring in all honesty, for the most part there isn't much the parties can say differently on this issue, they all want to fight against terrorism wherever it appears in order to keep the country safe from threats. Interesting point cam when Cameron and Brown teamed up (I know, crazy!) to attack Clegg on Trident. Everyone could see this coming before the debate but I think Clegg struggled getting his point across. I have sympathy for his position, it seems crazy to renew an ageing deterrent which is going to cost so much money, but people won't accept this until they see the alternative.

Climate Change
Stupid question, shouldn't have been about what they do personally but about their policies. Cue the leaders bigging up their insulation and wind turbines. Then they got back into their squabble about Europe and the relationship with the US. To get anything done on climate change we need to get it done worldwide, that's why we need the EU. We can punch above our weight in the EU and put some serious pressure on America and China that just wouldn't be at all possible if we were isolated. Pretty disappointed we didn't get to hear more about the parties green policies in this bit.

Pope Visit
All supported the visit, but said the church had serious questions to answer, pretty run of the mill from all three. Clegg was interesting, he openly admitted he was atheist. I've got a lot of respect for him for this, in plenty of other places (Im thinking US in particular) saying this would be political suicide. He openly said it on national TV, kudos to you Clegg.

Then they went on to a few other topics that weren't as interesting such as faith in politics and pensions, nothing major came out of these. Cameron came out with his line on a hung parliament being dangerous, Clegg accused him of scare-mongering. Cameron attacked on the leaflets issue, Brown claimed he hadn't authorised them. I think the spinners after the debate tried to make a massive story out of a small one here, and the Tory papers (Sun, Telegraph, Mail) will have carried it big time I imagine.

Overall, no major winner like we had last time, all the polls had different opinions, some with Clegg, some with Cameron, most giving Brown a boost on last weeks performance. I think this won't cause a major shift in the overall polls like last week did, each leader will just solidify there own support base. Much bigger spinning effort from the Tories than last week, Osborne was all over the place, they seemed to have learnt their lessons. I though Brown had a lot of substance on the issues, but I'm not going to claim he will have won over all that many voters who didn't like him previously, he knows that style isn't his strong suit. Clegg had a solid debate, it was tough for him coming under so much extra pressure, but he handled it okay. Cameron was more like the debater people expected, improvement on last week, but weak on substance in my opinion. He must be getting pretty pissed off with spoof posters by now though :)

Oh look, this has probably turned out longer than the last one, not shorter. Ah well, next up, the Economy, more expectation on Brown here, lets see what the polls do over the next week to see who the real winner was last week.

Here's a different look, if you don't like my spin on it:

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