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Friday, 30 April 2010

Leaders Debate, Round 3

The third debate was a disappointing anticlimax.

Perhaps my expectations had been too high giving way to an overwhelming feeling of boredom. Regardless of the questions asked the session became a re-run of the same over-worked lines, the main variations coming from the party leaders’ deliveries.

At last David Cameron delivered as people had expected him to in the previous debates having observed his performance since becoming leader of the Conservative Party. A polished act, far better than before but I thought it weaker on substance. “Change” is all very well and captures the public mood but change to what? Change for change sake could simply result in us being out of the frying pan and into the fire. If he had demonstrated clearly how his vision for change would be for the better, he may have retained his previous higher poll ratings.

Cameron’s lack of clarity has resulted in the momentum for ‘change’ being transferred to Nick Clegg enabling him to offer the electorate a complete change from the two-party system. The Liberal Democrats had been largely ignored until the Clegg bombshell shook the two main parties, and the media, out of their complacency. He had it all to play for last night but failed to deliver a decisive blow and appeared the least confident of the three. Nevertheless he presented a new, clean image which will appeal to many especially the younger voters.

That leaves Labour's Gordon Brown. Once an image of ‘the Joker’ came to mind, probably as a result of his attempts to appear less dour, I was stuck with it despite the fact that he is the Prime Minister and spoke with the authority of experience in office and an obvious passion for what he believes in. But if people have decided they want a change as the polls imply, he has an up-hill struggle even if John Major did manage to surprise the pollsters. So ‘change’ in one form or another appears almost inevitable.

I applaud the BBC for their staging of the final event but illuminating I think not. The TV debate innovation gave Nick Clegg the opportunity to burst the bubble which will no doubt prick the Cameron conscience for ever if he fails to win an outright majority. The irony of it all is that the mood for change that was latched onto by the opposition looks likely to be expressed in a manner none of the leaders could have anticipated.

Don’t forget to vote for the common good.

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