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The chancellors' debate: Who convinced you?

20:56 UK time, Monday, 29 March 2010

Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable have faced each other in a live televised debate discussing the economy. Who do you think came off best?

The trio were faced with questions on their parties' central economic proposals on Channel 4 ahead of the expected start of the election campaign next week.

The state of the economy is likely to be a defining issue at the election and the debate is a forerunner to the three prime ministerial debates - the first of their kind in UK election history.

Which of the three men convinced you about what they had to say? Who do you think should be chancellor after the next general election? Who do you think came across the best and the poorest?

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    None of them. To be frank. It was the same men in different suits.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nothing like cross party co-operation George," a classic retort.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is clear from the debate that Vince Cabel was the only person with any substance and sense. George Osborne was wrong to say that the next goverment cant be liberal democrate - thats for the people to decide. And from my own personal view, they just became more viable.

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought Vince wiped the floor with the other two. George's pompous and arrogant remark that the next government will be either Labour or Conservative may well come back to haunt him!

    I hope the leaders' debate will be as interesting.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was very impressed with Vince Cable and I believe if there was a hung Parliament he would make a very good Chancellor.

    Alistair Darling gave a typical assured performance.

    And george osborne, what can you say. I would not trust him to run the school tuck shop, let alone the economy.

  • Comment number 7.

    George Osbourne will never convince me he will make a good chancellor and as for his remark that the Lib Dems will never form the next government may come back to haunt him in a hung parliament. He strikes me as arrogant and out of touch.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was saddened, once again, to hear politics of envy raise its ugly head. Nobody can help being born into wealth - they have no say in the matter - and it is natural that if your parents are rich they will give you the best education they can afford.
    When I witnessed a round of applause given to Vince Cable's remark that the Conservatives only want to be in power to look after their 'friends' I felt let down. A silly and unecessary jibe.

    I want my politicians to be earnest,truthful and respectful towards each other - then perhaps we, the public will give them some respect.
    All three Chancellors made good points but Mr. Darling was hardly contrite about the mistakes made on his watch.

    I dread the run up to the election and having to put up with playground bullying from people who should know better. My vote will go to whoever fights the cleanest fight because there is precious little between them when it comes to policies.

    Labour has a lot to answer for, The Tories need to get in touch with the people more and the Lib/Dems fall between two stools.

    When you place your X on the voting paper remember please that their are super rich MP's in all three parties and that there are MP's from all sides who don't believe in today's benifit culture

  • Comment number 9.

    I think tonight confirmed Vince Cable as the country's favourite would-be Chancellor. He came across as competent and assured.
    However, tonight may also have been good for Alastair Darling/Labour. Darling sounded wise and was able to empathise well with audience members.
    Osbourne, however, came across as quite cold and, at times, naive and out-of-his-depth. Not drastically so, though.
    Nevertheless, I think the Lib Dems have profited most from this evening, though, electorally, this is more significant in that it may hinder a Conservative majority.

  • Comment number 10.

    Reminded me of the Nixon vs Kennedy Presidential debate.
    What was the person in charge of Vince Cable's wardrobe thinking about?

    Notice they did not confirm nor deny any VAT or Tax rises?

    We all know there will be cuts and increased tax!

  • Comment number 11.

    Who'd have thought it! Just being Dave's mate from the Bullingdon club doesn't equip you to lead our economy. Who knew! Solid performance from Darling, and Vince seemed to relish the opportunity.

  • Comment number 12.

    George Osborne came off best he had the most to lose going in and increased his credability, Vince Cable looked like a know all crowd pleaser and Darling was on the defensive for his parties shockingly bad economic policies over the last 13yrs. Well done George O(apart from the last libdem comment have you learned nothing from Neil Kinnock taking things for granted in '87 your better than that). Role on Dave Cameron tearing the other 2 to shreds next week.

  • Comment number 13.

    Alastair Darling was uneasy and his style was very negative, choosing to attack the Tories rather than proffer positive solutions.

    George Osborne came across very well for me and his policies appeared sound and largely agreed with Vince Cable, who won the debate (though had nothing to lose).

  • Comment number 14.

    How about learning from the American "Tea Party" people.
    That would shake things up a bit!

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Vince Cable came across best and was the only person to be clapped for his comments. As George Osborne said, though, the election will be won by Labour or the Conservatives and not the Liberal Democrats.

    Considering that the election is only a few weeks away, all the candidates seemed vague about what they would cut, apart from waste. Vince Cable mentioned getting rid of Trident and Eurofighter, which was at least positive. Alistair Darling assumed that nothing could be saved from the NHS or Education. This isn't true, as a lot could be saved from both of these, especially if the Government got rid of ideas about people being able to choose any hospital or school for their families.

    While there was concern for students, little was said about why the young have ended up in this problem. Over the past few years, the government has been more concerned with people maximising their profits from selling their homes, rather than the fact that in much of the UK, only a small proportion of adults earn enough to buy a home for three times their income.

    I was most concerned about the fact that nobody mentioned the benefit culture, where many people are far better off not working than they would be working. This is linked with the situation of too many long-term unemployed people living in cities, especially in the South-east, putting a large pressure on housing and energy supplies. As Caroline Flint said in 2008, if the long-term unemployed were moved out of the cities, their homes could become available for low-paid workers. Money could also be saved by not putting unemployed people in high rent properties. I know this may be politically unpopular, but the current system penalises low-paid workers and does not encourage people to work. If any of the would-be chancellors wants to save money, they must consider the fact that the UK needs workers. It does not need to pay large sums of money to people who have no intention of giving anything to help the UK out of its current predicaments.

  • Comment number 16.

    As with his Personal Political Broadcast last week, Vince Cable was the only convincing candidate under debate tonight. He was the only candidate who actually answered questions directly, the only one who sought to penalise the super rich to help those on lower and middle incomes, and actually admitted that as far as spending cuts go, no one sector is safe. In his pre-amble, his proposed cuts to the Trident program, ID cards and the like was a breath of fresh air. I'm afraid all the other 2 could do was argue based on tired rhetoric and the usual Red and Blue answer avoidance tactics. Out of the other 2, I'm afraid to say that Darling was the more convincing.......Whoever gets into power, would be very shrewd indeed if they were to somehow entice Vince Cable into their ranks.

  • Comment number 17.

    The reason Alastair Darling was wrong to brand George Osborne as irresponsible:

    NATIONAL INSURANCE IS A TAX ON JOBS. If national insurance is increased fewer jobs will be created by the private sector, and the economic recovery will be slower. Since all politicians agree that economic growth is required to reduce the deficit, putting up national insurance is crazy and George Osborne is correct. If any tax is to be put up, it has to be a tax that discourages consumers from borrowing and spending - VAT. Employers national insurance should actually be cut significantly - it is the only way, together with training, to reduce unemployment and the benefit bill.

  • Comment number 18.

    GeorgeO worries me. I would like VinceC and AlistairD to have the chance to share ideas and work together.
    First big idea to save money would be to reduce the number of MPs and Lords, and to move them out of the Palaces Of Westminster into a shared, modern, energy efficient building. This country no longer runs an Empire.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think all three were equal and kept it very cilil until Vince Cable had aslight go at the end however . George Osbourne was not as weak as Labour would have liked . Alister Darling is a decent man who is being dragged down by Brown and Balls

  • Comment number 20.

    If George Osborne is supposed to be the weak link of the Tories - on his performance tonight the other parties don't stand a chance. He argued his point, didn't go for cheap applause and really appeared to understand his brief. His youthful nimble thought processes made the competition look staged frightened/rusty. In short - some what to my surprise - he assumed the mantle of a statesman.

  • Comment number 21.

    2. At 9:13pm on 29 Mar 2010, Jack wrote:
    None of them. To be frank. It was the same men in different suits.
    I'll second that

  • Comment number 22.

    Well presented program that didn't deliver what it promised. We were promised that someone would be checking the facts when candidates made claims. Well, there were at least two occasions where it was blindingly obvious that Darling misrepresented George Osborne and proposed Conservative policies and he was not pulled up about it. That was very bad.

    Whilst Cable talked a lot of sense, everything he said was borne out of experience and you have to remember no party knows better how to lose elections than the Lib Dems - From their many failures, he knows exactly what you want to hear and he also knows that he will never be in a position to actually deliver it.

    It was cringeworthy watching Darling and Cable gang up on Osborne knowing that in all likelihood they will be cuddling all through the next parliament because as a nation we are too lazy and too stupid to face up to the truth.
    The program really failed to deliver in the sense we all KNEW Darling would lie and secretly, we couldn't wait for him to be pulled up on air, live - but he got away with it again.
    It's OK though when we actually do go bankrupt and throw in the towel, the EU will bail us out won't they :)

  • Comment number 23.

    For me Vince Cable won that debate hands down.
    He was the only one to say that this country is in the brown, smelly, sticky stuff and it's gonna hurt to get out of it. He actually gave some clear indications how to do it as well.
    Alistair Darling looked like a rabbit in headlights, who had just been pushed under the car, by the previous chancellor, the now leader of our country. Well only for another couple of weeks anyway!
    George Osbourne didn't have a clue. He gave no clear feasible policies as to how we are going to get out of this mess and all he could do was attack Labour, he had no arguments about any of Vince's policies. Maybe that's because Vince actually has some?
    And the arrogance of George to say 'with respect to the Liberals it will be either the Tories or Labour as the next government' was unbelievable!
    Neither the Tories or Labour have covered themselves in glory over the last 30 years!
    George - Beware the middle child!

  • Comment number 24.

    Vince Cable by a country mile, quite clearly the best person to guide us out of the mess.

  • Comment number 25.

    Vince Cable won the debate hands down. He was the only one who was prepared to give straight answers. He clearly understands what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
    George Osbourne waffled and was nailed by both Cable and Darling. He came across as arrogant and ill-prepared for office. His dismissal of Vince Cable will come back to haunt him.
    Darling has had his day and will go down with the rest of Labour

  • Comment number 26.

    Whilst Vince came across quite well I don't really think this debate did anything for any of the parties. Cable is, with all due respect, far older than the other two and by virtue, more experienced. I don't think he is the force of rationality that everyone quite makes out him to be. Let's not forget that this is the chap who came up with the £1m mansion tax and had to retract it within a day. He says a lot of sensible things but then so did Osborne. And to Osborne's credit he did perfectly well for someone in a very difficult position. It would have been easy to be drawn into political sniping but he didn't. Indeed it was Capt Darling who could not resist with the adolescent sniping and usual string of Liebour attempts to mislead, lie and pervert the true reality of other party's policies. It is typical of Labour to lie to everyone and cheat their way through life. It is staggering that he, or rather they, have the audacity to ask the electorate to believe them and trust them with the economy after allowing this country to get into the state it is in. Hopefully, when it comes to it the electorate will see that it is not about Darling, Cable or even Osborne come election day. It is whether you allow Calamity Brown another 5 years of obscene corruption, theft, lies, deceit, the worst debt this country has ever had, an ever increasing public sector choking off enterprise and jobs and the destruction of democracy. Why allow him to put the final nails in the coffin of what is left of Britain? It seems entirely rationale to give someone else the chance to deliver change, inject fresh ideas and at least try and steer this country around. p.s. did anyone happen to notice the smartly dressed bald chap with glasses who nodded at everything Daaarling said!?!? Labour plant - I wonder?!?

  • Comment number 27.

    VC came across very well. AD also had the beating of GO, as GO made the point of saying that CV will no be the next Chancellor, I guess thanks to him, I will now be voting for labour and AD!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Delay Cuts and tax us all to death
    Delay Cuts and increase taxes for all but the lowest paid.
    Cuts now and cut taxes for those on low to moderate incomes.

    That about sums it up for me. Who said what? You decide.

  • Comment number 29.

    @sw1: that wasn't a retort it was a poor attempt at dodging the fact that Labour just copied their idea!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Potential Chancellor Debate on telly:

    Scary stuff when you remember that only one of them has any proper qualifications in economics anyway (Dr Cable with his Glasgow PhD in Economics) who is a better candidate in my book than Darling with a Law degree or Osborne with his Modern History degree.

    I know MPs are always "different" and ministers can switch from "job" to "job" at the drop of a hat (or clanger) - but I'm sure they wouldn't like any Tom, Dick or Harry tinker with the Rolls, rather than a qualified mechanic.

    Grumping over, I thought Vince Cable was the best because I feel he talks common sense, seems trustworthy and doesn't carry the "ya-boo-sucks" mentality baggage of the NuLab/Cons mobs.

    But what do I know? I'm just a voter.

  • Comment number 31.

    Vince Cable won it for me. George Osbourne look rattled and Alistair Darling looked very tired

  • Comment number 32.

    George Osborne was the clear winner. He was the most articulate, kept mainly to the time limits and answered the questions. On NI contriubions the Tories are absolutely right to reverse the plans of Labour. If Labour were honest about nurturing a frail recovery, then hiking up NI contributions is the worst thing to do. And was in particular galling is the continuous arguments about fairness and working for the hard working families of this country. If that is so, then you do not tax those who have the least. No wonder that under Labour the gap between the haves and haves not has increased so dramatically. And as far as debt reduction goes, it makes no sense to wait yet another year to tackle waste if you know and even have identified 'precisely' how much money is being wasted. As far as the LibDems are concerned, some of the policies scare the pants off me. It just demonstrates lack of real experience.

  • Comment number 33.

    Uuhhh, it over yet?

  • Comment number 34.

    I think George Osborne's arrogant comment about the Lib Dems may come back to haunt him should a hung parliament be the election result.
    Thought Darling was very good and composed and his experience shone through.
    Cable was good but his constant Mystic Meg retorts did get a bit boring after a while.

    Darling 8/10
    Cable 7/10
    Osborne 5/10

  • Comment number 35.

    After watching the performance of Mr Osborne, his boss must be cringing!

  • Comment number 36.

    Having watched the debate two observations:-

    1. George Osborne was a like a fish out of water. The Tory pledge to abolish looked like a blantant bit of electioeering, and made life difficult for him.

    2. Vince Cable came out as probably the best chancellor we will never have.

    However if the electorate have the courage to vote for third party, then who know what might happen.

  • Comment number 37.

    As a floating voter, if I had to vote based purely on the debate tonight, my vote would squarely fall with the Lib Dems.

    Vince Cable was much more adept at actually answering the questions put to him and the policies made a lot more sense than either of Alistair Darling's and George Osbourne's responses (or lack of them as seemed the case).

    I found Osbourne's comment towards Cable about the Lib Dems not making it into government and the general apathy and attitude by both Darling and Osbourne towards Cable rather unappealing.

  • Comment number 38.

    Darlings constant avoidance of questions and dithering along with George O's cocky comment about there being only Labour or Tory in government at the election was a sad sad state of affairs, thankfully Vince Cable was right on the button, time for change, but not tory style change ;)

  • Comment number 39.

    Vince Cable all the way through. He was clear in what he would and would not do. He was confident, unafraid about his answer, generally appear to have a good grasp of real economics. No bluffing- he just tell the truth about the state of the economy and what he would do if elected. I cannot see why they should not be given a chance.

  • Comment number 40.

    One other thing, if Labour win, I seriously think that, for the fist time in a long long time, there is an outside chance of this country facing a period of sustained mass civil disobedience. Most honest, hard working people will simply not put up with another 5 years of theft, corruption, sleaze, punitive taxes, grotesque public cannot, must not, and should not go on. We have a chance and a choice...let's, for heaven's sake, not blow it now. Because there is a very real risk that Labour will seize the opportunity to alter the democratic process forever and we will become a one party state just like Russia, China and other totalitarian regimes. You have been warned. And for those who think this is being melodramatic. I wish I were joking....

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm a Labour party member but I'd have to concede that Vince Cable had the edge tonight. Alistair Darling was composed and confident but seemed to lack a little passion. George Osborne looked like a rabbit in the headlights, and I genuinely fear for the UK if he gets his hands on the Government cash card. In the event of a hung Parliament, I'd go for Vince Cable as Chancellor, he speaks with conviction and authority.

  • Comment number 42.

    Vince Cable won by a mile.I'm a life long[very long]Labour supporter but on the strength of this performance the Lib.Dems. will have my vote.

  • Comment number 43.

    If it was a cross-party government, Vince Cable is held in high respect for anticipating the present situation and would make an ideal Chancellor. However as this is unlikely to happen and the Lib Dems are unlikely to form the next government the safest thing for voters to do is vote Labour as they have so far steered the country through the financial crisis reasonably well, even though they did not appear to see it coming. Neither of the other parties has claimed Darling has made a mess of it. They only disagree to an extent on where to go from here. Safer the devil you know - and safety is paramount.

  • Comment number 44.

    Vince Cable rocks!

    He is right we NEED change not more of the same..

    We NEED

    Proportional representation.. ( ALL VOTES WILL COUNT )and it will force them to actually address the needs of the population not just the money men.

    Well regulated Retail banking services wholly seperate from the gambling side of the business.

    A fair distribution of taxation where it is not possible for a multi millionair to pay less tax than an office cleaner..

    In future if a bank fails then it FAILS..

    An end to state support for the railways if private companys want to run the railways then let them .. when they fail renationalise at a 1p on the pound.

    End tax credits/child benefit heating allowance to top earners on 100k pa or more.

    Stop giving international aid to countries who have a space program..

    If British companys outsource jobs to far eastern countries then thier goods should have a 500% import duty levied on them..

    Cap all top public SERVANT wages to that of the prime minister this ammount to include all expenses and bonuses.

    Cancel TRIDENT it realy is a no brainer...

    Invest savings from TRIDENT in Defence Budget using only UK manufactured arms.

    Scrap ID CARDS another no brainer us the 20 billion to repair the countries infrastructure.

    I could go on & on but you get the drift..

  • Comment number 45.

    I thought Darling was assured and credible if inevitably less of a 'tv personality' than the occasion required. Vince Cable is unlikely ever to have to be accountable for his views in office and is thus irrelevant.But thank goodness for George who may save us, almost single handedly,from the horror of a tory government.

  • Comment number 46.

    George Osborne came over better than of late but Vince Cable was a clear winner. He also scored best from the audience. Are the BBC watching the same programme when they lead on Alastair Darling and only give Cable a passing mention ? I thought this was a well balanced programme and each had an opportunity to express themselves fairly but the Chancellor could not escape from the spectre of Brown and Balls lying in the shadows for me.

  • Comment number 47.

    We all LOVE Vince Cable!

    How strange!

    Lets all Vote LibDem!


  • Comment number 48.

    Well I actually thought Vince Cable came out as a bit full of himself. His constant need to snipe at both his opponents was a bit forced and shows that the Liberals can't decide what to do in a hung parliament still. Whilst he may seem different and more experienced, he can make all these predictions and policies without the responsibility of fighting to government.

    Personally I thought Cable's cheap shot at Osbourne about inheritance tax was, unprofessional and the same negative stereotypes the Liberals say they are above.

  • Comment number 49.

    Scores on the doors - Cable 9, Osborne 5, Darling 5

  • Comment number 50.

    Vince Cable by a mile. Nailed Osborne at the beginning over inconsistency of policy, and a much better idea of the banking problem than Darling.
    I may not vote LibDem but in a fair world he would walk into number 11

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course Vince Cable came out on top. The other 2 are pygmies!

  • Comment number 52.

    What typical arrogance of Mr Osbourne to dismiss Vince Cable's better arguments by saying the election is between the Tories and Labour! Just because Labour are unpopular doesn't mean the voters will automatically go for his Party as they don't trust his lot either.Perhaps a hung Parliament will force politicians to put Country before Party interests?

  • Comment number 53.

    Vince Cable

  • Comment number 54.

    Vince Cable wiped the floor , really? Not sure which debate you were watching! Liberal democrats can promise the earth but they will only ever be a minority in a government.

    Sorry i dont want another lib lab pact as per the last time that happened it was an utter mess.

    We should be judging the Labour government on the last 13 years and frankly its a mess. What have they done with all our taxes and they have raised so many stealth taxes in those years and yet we are still effectively bankrupt.

    I certainly dont trust either the liberal democrats or labour party to face off the public sector unions. The private sector workers has suffered badly under this labour government. GET THEM OUT NOW!

  • Comment number 55.

    total rubbish, none spoke on behalf of working class people

  • Comment number 56.

    It was an even performance all round.
    If there was a gainer it was Osborne. He didnt come out on top, but matched the assured performances of Darling and Cable. They can't continue to make claims of his inability after he stood his ground against both of them.

  • Comment number 57.

    George O was easily the most assured of the three and actually sounded like he knew what he wanted to do. Alastair Darling seemed occasionally flustered and worked hard to give non committal and fairly bland answers. Vince C was Vince C. He can spout any old line because he knows he'll never have to make it stack up.
    When it comes to running the country for the next 5 years Alistair Darling will be as big a failure as he has been the last 2/3 years. I always get the impression when listening to Alaistair Darling that he really doesn't belive it himself.

  • Comment number 58.

    Vote for either of the three main (English) parties and you get the same man behind the curtain.

    All candidates on display this evening are merely the manequins the Bilderbergers have selected for our viewing pleasure.

    None of them are worth votes.

    At least here in Scotland we have a real alternative to the usual LibLabCon trick, and come May 6th they will deliver a heavy blow to them.

    Darling is reckoned to lose his seat altogether, so whether he did well this evening or not is irrelevant since he won't he even be around on May 7th.

  • Comment number 59.

    'If George Osborne is supposed to be the weak link of the Tories - on his performance tonight the other parties don't stand a chance. He argued his point, didn't go for cheap applause and really appeared to understand his brief. His youthful nimble thought processes made the competition look staged frightened/rusty. In short - some what to my surprise - he assumed the mantle of a statesman.'

    You've got a point, people who doubt George O's experience remember that Ken Clarke one of the most successful Chancellors is advising him and i'd like to correct my earlier post Kinnock's helicopter antics was of course 1992 not '87, Vince Cable is all talk no substance Alastair Downing isn't a bad guy he's just in the wrong company (the Brown Balls combo) the mess the country finds itself in is Gordon Brown's fault "I've ended boom and bust" utter tosh.

  • Comment number 60.

    George Osborne as Chancellor? If this is the best the Tories can come up with, then we truly are doomed if they win the election. Yeah, a Darling/Cable clone could be the solution. Wouldn't look pretty but could be effective.

  • Comment number 61.

    I will not voting for the Chancellor or the Prime Minister - I will be voting for a candidate to be my MP and I will vote for person who I think will best represent me!

  • Comment number 62.

    I found that Vince Cable offered more in what I seek from a would-be chancellor, however as much as I would personally prefer them to I don't see the Lib-Dems getting into any sort of power. A shame as from comments so far if people didn't feel like they were "wasting their vote" and so opting for blue over red or red over blue (as I suppose would be more likely if my history of politics would tell me) rather that putting a cross next to the yellow, they would most probably make quite significant gains.

  • Comment number 63.

    I rather like what George Osborne has to say! For once by getting rid of highly paid bureaucrats and sliming down goverment, what he says is probably reasonable.However, I fear though the Treasury accounts may be worse than expected.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm not sure what they mean when they say they want to get increased efficiency out of the system.

  • Comment number 65.

    It wasn't a debate at all. It was just a public confidence trick that showed the biggest difficulty that trio had was how to differ from each other!

  • Comment number 66.

    It's important to remember that this was ultimately a victory for democracy. Whoever you think is best for the job, you cannot deny that getting the chance to listen to all three "Chancellors" on live TV with an audience is a bad thing.

    Osborne may not be as weak as some say, and he and Cameron could be a dream team. However, he is making the potential mistake of alientating potential allies. If he doesn't think the Lib Dems will get in, then why mention it? The more you deny something, the more foolish you look if it happens, especially with an unpredictable electorate. You don't say to an armed robber that they haven't got a weapon. He reminds me of Nigel Lawson: capable of some successes, but in danger of helping to split his party.

    Cable for Chancellor? He's got public approval, but that's not always enough. Darling no longer a liability, but was in office when the banks collapsed.

    Tricky. Heart says Cable, Head says Darling.

  • Comment number 67.

    None of them really

    What worried me was the cosying up of Lib/Lab

    Be interesting to see if Clegg and Brown follow that example and we all knew Darling was lying
    Well I hope we all knew

    Now tommorow Morning the Guardian will say Darling wiped the floor with the other two, the BBC will basically agree.
    Murdochs press will claim George Osborne came out on top and the broadsheets will waffle on and give credit to Wince Cable conveniently overlooking the fact he has just had to apologise formally to the Treasury.Which strangely has gone largely unreported

    Fair play to him though he presents himself better

  • Comment number 68.


  • Comment number 69.

    Please come back Ken Clarke, little George is a joke.

  • Comment number 70.

    Vince Cable would clearly make the best chancellor while Osborne seems very good at making pledges that he doesn't actually know he can deliver. I shudder to think what the country would be like if he was in charge of the economy. I cant remember a word Darling said.

  • Comment number 71.

    Acting honours go to Vince, who is great at playing Vince the Sage, although he let himself down at the end.

    Allistair did ok. He managed to sound like he has a bit of a plan, when he doesn't expect to need one. He'll make a decent Leader of the Opposition.

    George Osborne can't act for toffee, but still got his points across. The boy's got a great future.

  • Comment number 72.

    Out of the three, only Vince Cable , was believable.

  • Comment number 73.

    George Osborne for Chancellor,I was convinced by his demeanour and how he demonstrated that he was aware of what had gone wrong in the past few years.While Vince was going through the motions expected of a minor Party.A.Darling still has not woken up to what went on over a number of years.

  • Comment number 74.

    Vince Cable impressed me the most. He came across as the most frank and honest of the three, and he also seemed to know what he was talking about.

    I'm afraid George Osborne appeared the weakest. Worrying, as he is the one most likely to actually be the chancellor after the election.

    If Nick Clegg said he'd do a deal with whoever has the most seats in a hung parliament on condition Vince was chancellor, I'd vote for him.

  • Comment number 75.

    Hi All,

    Dang, missed it!

    60 and never felt better.

    Any mention of plans for voluntary deferment of pension?

    Love my work and would like to work until 80, if possible?

    Like to try for full pension (30 years working in UK) as I have only worked 12 years in UK.



  • Comment number 76.

    I think that Vince Cable came across quite well as being informed and the voice of common sense and certainly,audience applause gave me the impression he was the most popular speaker.I thought Alistair Darling seemed a bit flustered and impatient at times but he succeeded well in explaining his thinking. George Osborne seemed a little nervous and rather vague and I think he was the weakest speaker in this debate. The programme was well done though,and maybe concentrated a few minds as to who might be best steering the country through the uncertain economic waters ahead.

  • Comment number 77.

    Vince came across well tonight. Im actually a Lib Dem supporter but Darling came across a bit better then i thought, and George Osborne came across like an ass.

    I think Osborne's end comment about the Lib Dems was a bit of a snide remark, i think that will come across as arrogence and people will just turn off the Tory's.

    I also liked the jabs at Osborne from the other two. =)

  • Comment number 78.

    So far 28 for Vince
    17 for Alister
    8 Don't knows
    10 George

  • Comment number 79.

    Well George Osborne came across just as he is in reality...someone with a pretty dreadful CV and with ABSOLUTELY no experience of the real world.

    He shows how the Tory Party always looks so fondly on anyone who has inherited a big lump of cash rather than working or working hard for anything.

    One can almost hear George giggling in a nervous self satisifed way as he thinks to himself 'How lucky I am did I get here and when am I going to be get found out?'

    Vince Cable showed he is a real worker who knows his brief (ie economic stuff) and Alastair Darling was well pretty average...

    As for the comment as to how Cable dresses: he may have been the least best dressed but he knew far more than George Osborne is ever likely to know.

    Anyone who makes comments on here about their clothes and dress sense as a key assessment point is showing their own focus on trivial approach. I almost felt that Osborne is so naive he is probably still dressed by his Mummy and Daddy and the spin doctors at Conservative Central Office (...just like Dave and his wife are dressed by their spin doctors ALL the time too! LOL)

  • Comment number 80.

    Totally agree that Vince Cable wiped clean the opposition-he offered real substance to his arguments matched by accurate predicting of past episodes that only those with selective memory would choose to forget.Osborne was by contrast arrogant and vacuous leaving no real indication what his policies would be/how they'd be funded/ what would be cut etc; at the end of an invaluable prime time hour's worth of campaigning. Instead he mainly attacked his rival speakers and offered soundbites only worthy of the front pages of the right wing press. The country deserves who the people put into power...and I'm far more confident in the Lib Dems if there is such a need for change.

  • Comment number 81.

    Vince clearly showed he is the most competent, honest and qualified person to run the British economy. And Osborne's remark that there 'won't be a Liberal Democrat government' is petty, arrogant and quite frankly not something for him to decide, but for the electorate.

  • Comment number 82.

    Vince Cable for Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'd vote for George as Labour have lied too many times in the past 13 years, and the Liberals will give way to Europe at every turn. This is just a warm up for the main event. We need an honest leader who will sort out parliament the banks and the waste on Quangos. Gordon Brown wanted to sack Darling not long ago, now he and the narrow minded supports of New Labour are hailing him as the best thing since sliced bread.

  • Comment number 84.

    Sorry but I have to disagree with most of the comments here, I was sitting in the audience and make this response.... (I put myself as an 'unknown' at the moment in relation to my X on polling day).

    Alastair Darling - this man I would not put in charge of anything relating to money, he still has not grasped the fact that when the interest payments on the debt this government has left us with is MORE than the whole of the Education Budget, he needs to stop spending OUR money on the Labour Parties 'pet' projects that are nothing more than an 'ego' boost to some nobody in the Cabinet!

    Vince Cable - he talks the talk, but admitted he did not see the collapse of the banking industry... that's strange, I am not an economist but any friend of mine will tell you I have been warning about the absolute control that the Banks now have over everyone and the economy for 20 years, I even have a website about it.

    George Osborne - whilst he did not come across as well as the others, I feel this is MORE to his lack of public speaking than dealing with the economy and he was 100% confident in backing the 'average' working class person earning between £7K and £45K by NOT following the Labour plan and sticking ANOTHER 1% on N.I. Payments...

    As for all of you that want to tax the more wealthy, let me remind you politely that without these people in our society, we are stuffed, we would have no private investment into new and developing businesses or technology and that will lead to LESS employment - taxing them over and over again does NOT level out the playing field, it will WIDEN the gap between the haves and the have nots...

    We need to REDUCE Employers NI contributions to assist employers to take on more staff.

    We need to increase the tax free allowance to £10K for Single Parents, Students, the long term unemployed to make it MORE beneficial to work instead of scrounging off the system

    We need to clear the dead-wood from the Civil Service, clear our tier after tier of upper and middle management to preserve front line staff...

    Back to basics people, we cannot live beyond our means as individuals, as families, as councils or as a country.....

  • Comment number 85.

    I think we should ask Alex Salmond to go down and help them out but no matter how much you like him and find him useful you cannot keep him.

  • Comment number 86.

    Vince Cable was a consumate performer and Alastair Darling came across as a safe-pair of hands. As for George Osborne, his closing remark about Vince Cable and the Lib-Dems not forming the next government, displayed breath-taking arrogance. Those remarks did his cause no favours and David Cameron, along with Ken Clarke & Tory Co...Must've winced!

  • Comment number 87.

    Regards comment 17, putting up VAT by a significant amount will choke off consumer demand which will depress sales which may lead to further redundancies in some it is not a panacea and at worst may have a similar effect to raising NI contributions....there are no easy answers where such huge figures are involved.

  • Comment number 88.

    I would never say i was a Liberal Democrat supporter but the idea, to cut the countries deficit, by stopping family tax credits for families earning more than the average salary would be a fantastic idea.To further aid our repayment of this nationally concieved black hole, why don't we stop paying into child trust funds for parents earning more than the average salary. Also, we could claw back all monies paid into funds, to parents earning above average salories, over the time that they were in force. In the words of Alexander, 'Simples!'

  • Comment number 89.

    If all the people who say they would vote for the LibDems but they fear it could be a wasted vote actually bit the bullet and voted for them, they could be an influential force or even in government. Vince Cable was head and shoulders above the other two and I actually think Darling came across quite well too. Osborne was out of his depth.

  • Comment number 90.

    As I watched this debate, I remembered President-to-be Bill Clinton saying something along the lines of "It's the economy, stupid".

    I was quite surprised by how accessible and civil the debate was ... from what I hope is a slightly removed sceptical viewpoint I was surprised by the political skill and economic knowledge of the LibDem guy ... Wikipedia revealed that he was Chief Economist for Shell; so that explains that then. Damn shame he is unlikely to get the Chancellor's job; I found Darling to have performed surprisingly well, and got off lightly, considering the total economic balls-up we have endured; and Osborne I thought performed surprisingly weakly ... I thought he was going to be better.

    From wishing to abstain, I think I'm probably going to vote LibDem now.

  • Comment number 91.

    Vince Cable has as much chance of becoming a chancellor as I have. The position of Chancellor is so important, that the larger party will never give it up - or else you are headed for an early election.

    Because of this, bright though Vince is, he will never come under the same scrutiny and so what he says will always come across as better.

    Eurofighter is impossible to pull out of without serious repercussions -so whilst it might sound a good idea, it would cost us too much to pull out of if we tried - so its good for Vince to say this - it sounds sensible, but in practice it can never happen.

    VAT was a question that was never answered. It will have to go up in order to converge with the EU - probably we'll all agree on 20%. VAT must go up as it costs Britain around 6 Billion per year in Fraud and the EU more than 100 Billion

  • Comment number 92.

    Now that the majority on this BBC HYS seem to support VC perhaps the reporting by the BBC could be a liitle less biased? I mean the 10pm news was all about Darling & Osbourne with little or no mention of VC. The libdems have always had to work 3 times harder than the reds & blues to get coverage by a supposedly impartial organ like the BBC.

    Come on guys lets have some equality !!

  • Comment number 93.

    One thing people maybe overlooking in all of this is the impact the Lib Dems are likely to have on these debates. Going into this Vince Cable was well respected by people in the know but he had relatively little exposure in the media compared to George Osbourne or Alistair Darling.

    Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader seems to be quite a sincere person when you hear him speak for any length of time. Going into the PM debate's I suspect he will take votes out of the other 2 parties in just the same way Vince Cable may have done tonight.

    Now let's be clear I very much doubt the Liberals could hope to win the election but they could certainly knock the stuffing out of both the other 2 parties and win themselves some influence after the election.

  • Comment number 94.

    Look. Let's be totally honest about this. Most of us want Vice Cable incharge of our economy, who is by far the most qualified and indeed the most impressive speaker on this issue than any of his rivals.

    You never know though. If we get a hung parliement and the Liberal Democrats, who again, let's face it, most people want to give the chance of holding the reigns of power for a bit, hold the balence of power, we may yet get what we want.

    Here's hoping.

  • Comment number 95.

    I felt Vince Cable came out looking like the best potential Chancellor from that, by quite some distace. Hopefully, in the event of a hung parliament, he will be given that job.

    Osborne came across badly, particularly the arrogant comment about the Liberal Democrats. I'm not a natural Lib Dem, but after tonight I'm more likely to vote for them than ever before.

  • Comment number 96.

    There won't be a hung parliament. The Lib Dems will never be in power. Vince Cable will never be Chancellor. George Osborne won hands down ... I will definitely be voting for the Tories.

  • Comment number 97.

    ... and now we see how to manipulate the new, improved, HYS.
    Scan the above postings for dozens of pro VC postings with near identical prose. So now we...
    1. Guess what HYS is soon to be published.
    2. Line up a few dozen postings using our multiple identities.
    3. When the topic opens dump the lot. Thus gaining the top slots which are the only ones that realistically get read.
    Simples ... wonder how long it will take the BNP and the eco-nutters to catch on.

  • Comment number 98.

    Vince Cable was fine but that's all - the adulation on this page from commenters is misplaced. Darling seemed relaxed without being overconfident; his failure to answer one or two questions seemed more like oversight rather than deviousness. Osborne was both tentative and smug, an odd combination. I wish somebody had been inspiring. Without wishing to restart the Brown/ Mandelson debate about investment v savings as an election strategy, it would have been nice if the debate had gone into what we would be prepared to pay more taxes for - eg, for me, it would be more house-building, better trains and more manufacturing.

  • Comment number 99.

    I personally struggle with comments such as "the past decade of mismanagement by Labour". I personally - along with virtually everyone I know - have done extremely well under Labour having benefited from an extended period of growth, stability and low interest rates. Having grown up throughout the Thatcher and latter Tory government years, the last 10 can't even be compared. I also struggle with the comments about Labour having managed the country into a hole. Let's be clear, every major western economy has suffered as a result of the financial crisis –the UK is not alone. I contend that were Conservatives were in power, we'd be no better off - in fact we be in a worse position as initially they were against quantitative easing and other such government backed spend measures which have in fact helped the country recover (and were incidentally adopted by most other Western economies). Interestingly enough, I am actually by roots, a conservative supporter. However, much to my displeasure I see nothing in the Conservative policies nor proposed chancellor to offer me any reassurance that they have the experience, ideas or judgment to run the UK...and while I am not a Labour supporter, they do, seem to have made at the macro level the right decisions (I also note most Labour policies have been backed by the Lib Dems or not vigorously opposed). So where to turn...we need a new government I agree; the conservatives clearly are not up to the job, Lib Dems, despite good intentions, will not get in and Labour having done a lousy job of communicating what they have done well are getting slated....and so we look set for a hung parliament.
    Personally, I'd actually go with anyone scrapping the top rate of income tax. This is a complete nonsense. The people earning the top rate are, in the main, the wealth creators. The people generating jobs, building businesses and fuelling growth. The 100 wealth creators have the potential to create 10,000 tax-paying jobs (bear with me – just an example). So, question is, who generates more tax income - the 100 or the 10,000? I think the 10,000 more than make up for the 10% delta between the 40% and 50% top rate of tax – which by the way will be lost anyway by people deciding to pursue careers elsewhere. In addition to those that leave, the MOST wealthy will find ways around the tax - less salary, more company-based benefit schemes, etc.
    My views but strongly held! Interested in comments!

  • Comment number 100.

    Why weren't UKIP invited to take part ? In common with the Lib Dems, they have no chance of forming the next government either.


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