Posted by: secretperson | April 15, 2010

Leaders’ Debate – Clear Clegg Win

I am not a natural Liberal Democrat, being both liberal and democratic, but I thought Nick Clegg came across best in tonight’s party leaders’ debate.

Clegg has the advantage of not actually being in a position to win an election, and his attacks on the ‘old parties’ as though the Lib Dems were the Monster Raving Loonies, were slightly tired, but just in terms of presentation he won.

I have already studied the policies, so tried to place most emphasis on general good impressions and I thought Clegg, Cameron a bit behind and Brown well down. But an ITV poll afterwards of 4000 people on who won the debate had Clegg on 43%, Cameron on 26% and Brown on 20%. So I had the order right but I would have put Cameron slightly higher in percentages.

But as I said, policies were not the issue. the differences were narrow anyway. Nick Clegg consistently condemned the others for failing to be honest about the deficit, but none of them really acknowledged the sheer scale of it. Brown continued talking about tax cuts taking money out of the economy. Why does noone point out to him that his biggest stimulus measure was a VAT tax cut? I am being really slow and missing something or is David Cameron?

Worst of all for El Gordo was a fake laugh at the others’ critical comments. I know not everyone can be calm on TV, but it just looked so fake and dismissive. It really reminded me of Nick Griffin’s awkward Question Time performance, showing a lack of confidence in one’s own beliefs standing up to criticism, and trying to ‘laugh’ off said attacks. Lots of repeating himself too. Brown also failed to get personal with the audience as Clegg and Cameron managed a bit more. Also Brown’s sucking up to the Lib Dems (‘Nick agrees with me..’ while Nick shakes his head) was obvious and pathetic looking.

Cameron was just too posh, and a bit smug. Not good reasons to reject a prime minister, but as I said I am trying to judge the impressions given. A bit over-rehearsed I would say, Clegg definitely came across as more genuine.

All in all, a bad night for policies, a good night for presentation. Few real differences were exposed, few blatant lies condemned and many a cliche wheeled out. ITV emphasised devolved policies to plug the Scottish and Welsh debates, but no candidate mentioned England.

There is no doubt though that only the Lib Dems can really see this as a success. If I didn’t think they’d prop up a failing Labour party that might not be a bad thing. That and their policies may be overturned depending on what the EU tells them. Maybe more great shocks are in line for the following two debates, but only one real conclusion tonight, a clear win for Cleggy, rolling down a hill in a bathtub on wheels for Foggy and Compo (which is which?)



  1. Would have been nice to see a bit normality, a bit honesty and far less in the way of soundbite politics too.
    Clegg just came over as the nearest to normal of the three, but that’s not saying an awful lot.

  2. Yes, exactly. Hardly an inspiring choice!

  3. […] Reform – the Big Electoral Issue It wasn’t of course until Nice Nick won a debate. Everyone heard about how he’d won a debate, and all the people who thought the Lib Dems […]

  4. In my opinion all Nick Clegg did was try and seem appealing to voters, without actually saying much about his parties policies. Apart from raising the tax-free earing limit to £10,000 which he mentioned a lot, all i took away was that the he wanted to give illegal immigrants amnesty and scrap the pound. Nobody i speak to that praises Nick Clegg realy seems to know much about what his party actually stands for.

  5. I guess you are talking about the third debate, politicalplaygirl. No there’s not a lot different from the LDs except the tax (which is a good policy). He’s just better at presentation. Brown is the worst at presenting, but that doesn’t mean he has better policies!

    • Oh i totally agree. Brown is dreadful at presenting- i thought all three leaders made good points and bad points. But although i’d quite liked Nick Clegg in the first debate, i was disappointed when i looked into the Lib Dems policies deeper to find i really didn’t agree with him on most issues. And i really felt he spent more time in the 3rd debate “playing up” to the audience than discussing his policies, which was kind of the point of the debate wasn’t it.

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