leaders debateI watched this with some interest, not so much as to from my political opinions, but to see if it might shape others. The specific set of skills required to take part in a television debate are not equivalent to those needed to govern the country, and while most people have praised the debate, I do worry that it could trivialise politics.
That said, the level of the debate was fairly healthy and interesting, and went at a reasonable pace. All of the leaders did pretty well, the biggest losers probably being itv, who's opening graphic was god awful, with the show starting late, and Allastair Stewart being a clunky host (more than once cutting people off far too early, and not giving politicans a chance to respond to points the others made: his cutting between leaders seemed moderately insane at times).
There were no big mistakes from the leaders, other than Clegg repeating Cameron's assertion about 4000 pages being sent to schools each year (there were a few smirks in the audience at that) without realising it. (note.. is this that bad? What are these pages? Over a year thats not all that much, and these could just be health and safety things...)
So Clegg did best, and he always was going to- he represented an alternative to the others, and they did their best to ignore him, probably thinking attacking would be counter-productive. The lib dems stood to gain from last night- most people will now know what Clegg looks like, and have an idea what the lib dems stand for. They will probably have a misguided idea of what Cameron stands for (the conservatives policies do not match their current rhetoric...), who could have done better (for the love of god Dave, stop thanking people). Brown could have been awful, but I felt like he came off pretty well- not enough to change opinions, I suspect, but to remind people that he is a fairly substantial politican, and not some ogre. He will poll the worst simply because most people do not like him.
I have many posts to write on politics in the coming week or so, so you can view that statement with the dread or joy that you think it deserves.