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Is the election a three horse race?

09:05 UK time, Saturday, 17 April 2010

The political parties are battling over who offers "change" as polls suggest a continuing Lib Dem surge. Is the election now wide open?

David Cameron has reacted to the latest opinion polls by warning a vote for Nick Clegg could see the country being "stuck" with Labour and said only his party could offer "decisive change".

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said only his party "stands up for real change in the old economic and political order".

Labour's Gordon Brown told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat: "I'm here to be a vehicle of change for our community".

Do you think increased popularity of the Liberal Democrats will continue? Is this a result of Nick Clegg's performance on the first TV debate?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 21

  • Comment number 1.

    If it is just a three horse race then it shouldn't be. There are six hundred odd seats and that should mean we have a chance of electing six hundred odd personalities who want to represent around 600,000 people each.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's great that the Lib Dems are polling in third place. However % share of the vote does *not* translate to seats in the House of Commons.

    Our wonderfully democratic electoral system is heavily weighted in favour of Labour. Even in third place, as it stands after the YouGov poll, Labour would have the *most* seats in a hung Parliament.

    How is that democracy?

    The public may be warming to Nick Clegg but a vote for his party menas we will end up with another 5 years of Gordon Brown.

    This country simply cannot afford that to happen.

  • Comment number 3.

    I doubt the Lib Dem’s will hold that position but there's no doubt that Nick Clegg’s performance on Thursday's TV debate has swung him a lot of votes.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Those stats just go to show how New Labour have fixed the boundaries in recent years (and the Tories before that). One hundred seats from 30% of the vote is ridiculous (and I don't support the Lib Dems).

    If Gordon gets in from 3rd place, there may well be a revolution.

  • Comment number 6.

    The LibDems have as much chance of winning the election as anyone getting a flight into Heathrow today. Not gonna happen folks. The (obvious) BAD NEWS is that the likelihood of a hung parliament has increased, which of course is disastrous for the road to recovery. There are just 2 things people need to think very clearly about : (1) Brown has had 13 YEARS to do all the things he now promises, yet all he did was increase taxes, increase spending, steal our pensions, sell our gold and bring our nation to its knees - DONT BELIEVE A WORD HE SAYS; and (2) Clegg would abandon our national nuclear defenses to save a few quid today, when the most volatile countries on earth are blatantly going hell for leather to develop nuclear warheads themselves. Why or why would anyone in the right mind throw away the capability to defend ourselves???? DAVID CAMERON is the only sensible answer, unpalatable though that is for many who would rather not work, would rather put their hand out to Big Brother and would like to be held to ransom by some lunatics from the Middle East pointing a nuke at us!!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Mr Brown is so unpopular, and the Conservatives were so bad at government, that it is truly amazing that the Liberals have not been in the lead for a year or more. That in itself is worrying when one considers what their competence may be. Frankly, I have always considered the Liberals to be not worth a vote, but given the choices, they may well deserve support. I think that is the mood of people who saw the debate - Liberals don't seem better, but they do seem more harmless. At least Clegg had the courage to mention the waste of billions on the nuclear Navy. Another of the many elephants in the polling booth. It may well be a three horse race.

  • Comment number 8.

    From your prediction of seats won from this opinion poll, how can it really be a fair 3 horse race if the Lib Dems are on 30% of the vote yet only achieve less than half the seats of the other two parties.
    I think proportional representation should be introduced for the UK seats, this would be fairer all round and break the two donkey monopoly that currently exists.
    I would like to see the Lib Dems rising even more in the polls and having a real chance of power, how about it people, do we really want our PM to be determined by an Australian (American) nutcase, let's throw off the shackles, stick up two fingers at this idiot and take back control of our own country.

  • Comment number 9.

    I can't believe that people would decide to vote for a 'party' after seeing one 'person' speak on television. Are people really taken in by a man trying hard to behave like Tony Blair saying all the things he thinks people want to hear. Do the Lib Dem's really have any firm policies? Could they steer us out of the recession? I think not. The only person on the debate that had anything of any substance to say was Gordon Brown. Go Gordon!

  • Comment number 10.

    I think it definitely is - the British Public are so fed up with the corruption and sleaze, and have understood that much of this was caused by our antiquated and profoundly undemocratic electoral system - even labour have now promised a referendum on our voting system....it is only the Tories that don't want change.

    So people will no longer fall for the "wasted vote" nonsense, and perhaps, just perhaps, we may see genuine democracy in our politics.

  • Comment number 11.

    the election is an 8 horse race.

    libdems, conservatives, labour are the ones seeing the publicity, but all media channels are forgetting the other parties.

    at the last set of elections, UKIP polled the 2nd highest amount of votes, the english democrats are around my area, as are the BNP, whilst the greens are starting to pop up on the news a little bit more.
    for the first time that i can remember, the three main parties do not dominate collectively.

    as for the libdems, once their perceived savings on scrapping trident - which will save no money at all until AFTER 2016 - are apparent, the general public will see their policies for what they are.
    - proportional representation sounds good in theory, but when a voter sees that removal of mps from office would be almost impossible because of party lists, voters wont like it
    - scrapping trident and using the money in the next parliament is not an option, the savings from this wont be available until 2016, which leaves a whopping £15 Billion budget hole in their plans
    - policies on europe would also affect their costings - which are based on the official population as it is now - with an amnesty on asylum seekers, and open borders for entry from europe.
    with non european people, getting eu passports after 6 months residencey in any eu country, this would see a steady stream of people entering the UK to live and work, the costs to our services would be catastophic!
    at a time when funding is under pressure (from any party) and will be for years to come to pay off labour's debts, increasing the number of people dependant on schools, hospitals, housing and police, etc, would be a disaster.

    definately only a two horses race for the majority in parliament, im hoping one of the smaller parties will make a breakthrough and gain significant numbers of seats.

  • Comment number 12.

    Although I would love to see the La La Labour Party in third place (where they belong), the paradox is this would let Labour in for another term. This would be a disaster for OUR economy and country. Liberal Party want to give an amensity to one million ILLEGAL immigrants and abolish the pound and well as some other doubtful polices. Come on people there is no way we want this bunch of incompetant Labour neo-Marxists in again, get real

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Conservative values and so called 'style' has finally been shown up - how wonderful it was on a TV debate watched by 10 million people. Cameron is actually their strongest card - and look how he was picked apart as the day went on yesterday.
    From an unassailable position they now look set to throw it away - why?

    - Bold policies, possibly too risky
    - Zealous over confidence that they just had to turn up. Remember last year and this they've been using the wrong language...'when we win' etc etc
    - The realisation from people without a vested interest (i.e. not CEOs) that the dire consequences of the 'jobs tax' is mythical - but actually a workable policy.
    - That the new dressed up Conservatives are effectively Thatcherites in disguise
    - The people around Cameron are largely unsensational and frankly quite poor. The likes of George Osborne, Chris Grayling, Lian Fox, Michael Gove etc. Whereas Labour (arguably poor leader in GB) have trusted people in Alan Johnston, David Miliband, Alistair Darling etc
    - The emergence or equal billing of Clegg on the first TV debate - well done sir. That did more damage to Cameron who didn't live upto expectations whereas we all got what we expected from Gordon Brown.
    - Lib Dem votes are more likely to damage Tory seats/marginals that Tories need.

    What a poor campaign the Conservatives have ran. It's not a desirable trait to assume you've won - it's quite lazy and arrogant isn't it? But then again are we suprised?!

    Still 3 odd weeks and 2 tv debates to go... how can people not be interested in politics?

  • Comment number 15.

    I'd be glad to see it becoming a three horse race, the Tories and Labour have had their own way for too long. Having said that, it would take a serious change in views for the Lib Dems to get enough seats to form a majority government and I don't believe that will happen this time. However, the Lib Dems may well be the party holding the keys to the throne as it were, depending on who they can make a coalition with in the event of a hung parliament.

    I don't see the need for the UK to hold a stock of nuclear weapons, or nuclear fired power stations for that matter.

    Labour deserve to lose a number of seats for the sheer amount of unpopular and unnecessary things they have done. The Tories, though, I'm not sure deserve to gain the seats that Labour are losing.

  • Comment number 16.

    People used to they'd vote LibDem except they wouldn't get in. Now people are saying the daren't vote LibDem in case they get in!

  • Comment number 17.

    Is the election a three horse race?


    I don`t think so - but, if you had said `Donkeys`, I`d have agreed with you.

  • Comment number 18.

    No it isn't a three horse race.

    If you put last nights Yougov figures into the swingometer on a well known polling site you get the following, even if its not perfect it gives an idea.

    Con vote 33% (seats 245)
    Lab vote 28% (seats 275)
    LibDem 30% (seats 99)

    I am sure it isn't altogether accurate but could it be possible that Labour could come third and still have more seats than anyone else?

  • Comment number 19.

    Gordosagoner clearly doesn't think that Mr Cameron is mature enough to come to an agreement with the Liberal Democrats to keep Brown out. Nice piece on the Richmond Park constituency by the way, however, the title of the article is misleading as 100% of the people quoted intend to vote Liberal Democrat, and rightly so as Susan Kramer is an excellent constituency MP who I believe has always paid her tax in the UK.

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    No.2 - Gordsagoner

    Absolutely right, how anyone can call the UK a democracy, when the party potentially coming 2nd (in terms of popular vote) could come third in parliamentary seats is beyond me. I'm frankly surprised the Soviet Union never adopted such a skewed quasi-democratic system.

    My question is, why do the public put up with it, and also, why are the Conservative party so against a fairer voting system. Mr. Cameron needs to answer that one, as the undemocratic nature of our system is probably a major contributor to voter apathy.

  • Comment number 22.

    RichYork wrote:

    No it isn't a three horse race.

    If you put last nights Yougov figures into the swingometer on a well known polling site you get the following, even if its not perfect it gives an idea.

    Con vote 33% (seats 245)
    Lab vote 28% (seats 275)
    LibDem 30% (seats 99)

    I am sure it isn't altogether accurate but could it be possible that Labour could come third and still have more seats than anyone else?

    =============


    I think it's correct. The conservatives need a massive swing to have a majority. Something like 12 points overall.

    The electoral system is such that Labour need to be trounced in order to be kicked out of power. I don't see it happening. The left wing play dirty and have state media on their side.

  • Comment number 23.

    I hope this is the beginning of something new. I've wanted real change but ultimately could not bring myself to vote Tory (I live in one of the closest Tory/Lib-Dem marginals) and until now didn't think the Lib Dems could break through. Clegg sounded honest and fresh and made Cameron and Brown look like two side of the same coin, out of date, defensive and sleazy. I agree with Nick.

  • Comment number 24.

    Its only a three horse race because Labour and the Tories are so bad. The Tories empower policy is just a way for the wealthy middle england-middle class to take over local schools and pick and chose who goes to that school it will be the health service next . The labour party I'm not sure what they stand for anymore so its little wonder the Lib-dems are gaining ground

  • Comment number 25.

    A vote for Liberal Democrat is widely held to be a wasted vote because of the way the first-past-the-post system works. But the TV debates have introduced a new dynamic into the election, according to Gordon Brown. Have the pundits considered the effect of an increased poll with the additional vote being directed predominantly towards Nick Clegg's Lib-Dems than Tory or Labour? If the debates achieve greater voter participation they must surely improve the Lib-Dems chances of more seats whether they are now in 2nd place or not.

  • Comment number 26.

    The result predicted would be excellent.

    It would mean a weak government, facing the prospect of another election at any moment. This would concentrate the minds of the politicians wonderfully and they might get on and do some of the things people really want. Like withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    They would probably not risk the massive cuts in public expenditure that their big business and City friends are urging, but would continue with a large unfunded budgetary deficit and use it for public investment in a new railway system and renewable energy sources, for example, to create facilities for the future and the jobs that are desperately needed at the moment.

    Recent experience in Scotland has demonstrated the advantages of rule by a government which cannot automatically whip up a majority to support any scheme, regardless of its unpopularity in the country at large.

    Over 150 years ago the Chartists campaigned for annual parliamentary elections. They may well have been right. More frequent elections would certainly give voters more democratic control.

  • Comment number 27.

    Er, as expected, Yellow Crook is the 66/1 complete outsider.
    And they're, they're, they're, they're -, they're all in.
    They're under starter's orders and they're off!

    Blue Crook got a flyer and is the first to show.
    Yellow Crook was slowly away.
    And as they settle down it's Blue Crook from Red Crook with Yellow Crook tucked in behind these two.
    Then comes the blinkered Green Crook being pressed by Mandelson.
    Going steadily behind these five is Whites Only Crook and trailing the field is Lost My Deposit Crook.
    And as they start to climb the hill, it's Blue Crook who just shows clear of Red Crook.
    Yellow Crook is close up third, nothing between these three.
    Whites Only Crook is hanging seriously to the right, tucked in behind is Mandelson.
    Still trailing the field is Lost My Deposit Crook.
    There is Mandelson again making a challenge with Red Crook under pressure, but finding nothing.
    And as they race to the line it's Blue Crook being pressed by Red Crook, with Mandelson making rapid progress, trying to squeeze in between Red Crook and the rail.
    Blue Crook and Red Crook, nothing between these two.
    And Yellow Crook coming with a late run! Yellow Crook is coming with a late run!
    And Green Crook has dropped out of it all together!
    And with a hundred yards to go, it's Blue Crook and Red Crook, drawing clear.
    Blue Crook and Red Crook, stride for stride, length and line, it must be a photo.
    I can't separate them but I think Mandelson takes third from Yellow Crook, and still to finish is the tiring Lost My Deposit Crook.

    With apologies to Derek and Clive.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's beyond me how polling in 3rd place would lead to more seats, yet the Conservatives are the ones against a new voting system? I presume that position will change if they fail to get into power this time!

    The Lib Dems going into 2nd has helped Labour a lot more than anyone is saying, it has increased the likelhood of a hung parliment which is leading to Gordon Brown staying in power, then again I doubt we will have a hung parliment, I see a deal between the Lib Dems and Labour becoming quite likely if Clegg continues to gain support.

    Don't know what the big uproar over Labour being 3rd, they've lost less points than the Conservatives and still remain likely to get the most seats. This poll has damaged the Conservatives big time, Cameron was supposedly a great speaker and all this but he was awful compared to his reputation whereas Brown who I felt was equally poor was better than I expected.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes the lib dems are making a showing on the strength of NC's showing in the debate. However once people look at their polices instead of personalities their support will fall. Look at what they want:
    Abolish trident - it wont save anything like what they claim and will put defence at risk ( they in any case favour a European Army - useless and we have would be reliant on countries such as Germany and Italy )
    Cancel Euro fighter - wont save money due to penalty clauses
    Join the euro - the currency is already faltering and if we'd been in the euro the recession would be even worse as we would not be able to devalue. The only way to remain competitive would be to force wages down - look at Ireland and Greece! And they want to give MORE power to Europe - an undemocratic body which obsessed with waste and regualtion which we have no influence over.
    Honest John- Really ? - Nick Clegg is a toff , born in the south - posh education and lives in Putney not Sheffield! The Lib Dems MP's did not emerge unscathed from the expenses scandal with quite a few MP's having to pay back expenses. The only reason it wasn't worse is that there are less of them. Clegg is also being evasive about who he will go into coalition with - but of cousre it will be labour - whatever he says to Browni in public.( Why is GB todying up to him - work it out for yourself). We are in danger of being conned by cheap political gimmicks on the X factor.
    Tax - the Mansion tax - which is 1% wealth tax on large houses - sounds good if you don't own one which of course the vast majority of us don't . But of course like all taxes it will be extended in due course to cover most modest homeowners - once in place . Remember income tax ? This was a temporary measure introduced by guess who - the Liberals 100 years ago.!!
    Local income tax - Very difficult to know how this would play out in practice. Lots of losers - I suspect most middle income homeowners will end up paying MORE than in Council tax.
    Income tax threshold rise to £10k -this will cost £17bn and has to be paid for somehow at at time when the government revenue is in deficit. ( out of every £4 spent the government only get £3 - the rest is borrowed!!
    Once the public see these mad polices the love affair will end
    Finally even if there is a hung parliament Nick Clegg wont be prime minister but Gordon Brown will.
    My guess is voters will cool off once they relaise a vote for the L dems is a vote for labour with LD support.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is because of the nature of natural Labour seats that Labour could get more seats from a popular vote of 3rd or 2nd. Constituencies are smaller geographically in towns therefore there are more urban constituencies. These tend to go to Labour. If the Tories could appeal to ordinary middle to lower paid workers they would win those seats too. That is democracy.

    Having said that, I am in favour of Brown's electoral reform just as long as I don't have to put the Tories or the BMP as my second and third parties of choice.

  • Comment number 31.

    Nick Clegg comes across as a very nice individual. He has added a bit of steel to a party traditionally dominated by do-gooders who come over as wetter than a wet fish. Unfortunately the Lib Dems still manage to mix some sensible policies on things like fiscal reform with sheer lunacy on things like immigration. If we end up with a hung parliament, I hope Mr Clegg puts his money where his mouth is and supports whichever other party gets the most votes. His party will completely lose credibility if it supports Labour and they get fewer votes than the Tories.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am a Thatcherite Tory, but would prefer 5 more years of Brown to a hung Parliament.
    The LibDems will demand proportional representation as their price for supporting anyone. That will mean permanent hung Parliaments and the LibDems in permanent power, deciding which of the other two parties they will work with.
    No chance of any sense on Europe, with the most Euro-friendly party in control.
    Little chance of sense on many other issues either.
    So if you want the ability to throw out a useless government in future, whatever you do, don't vote LibDem!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't think it's that people are suddenly thinking the Liberal Democrats look viable after the debates - it's just that the debates have highlighted the fact that lots of people across the country would vote Liberal Democrat if they thought it would make a difference.

    For too long we've been told that a vote for the Liberal party is a wasted vote and that we have no choice but to vote Labour or Conservative. With the prospect of a hung parliament the Liberals will make a real difference. They've been part of a hung parliament coalition government in Scotland and have managed to heavily influence policy over the last few years.

    We are reaching a tipping point - Labour and Conservative parties you have had your day.

  • Comment number 34.

    Before everybody gets too carried away with the Leaders debate on Thursday I would suggest that we all go back and read the manifestos.

    There was a lot said but an awful lot not mentioned!

    I would like to see an electoral pledge card of a maximum of 12 points on one side of A4 so we can see what is on "offer" from each of the parties.

  • Comment number 35.

    No, it is a two horse race between the Tories and the Left, and the Left will no doubt collude to make up lies about what would happen if the Tories win.

    It is sad that people will swallow this and let GB in as a result, as he is the worst PM and Chancellor I can remember, making error after error, then lying about it or blaming someone else to cover his own back.

  • Comment number 36.

    If these three horses are all we have in the race and in a hung parliament we would have all three then gawd elp us

  • Comment number 37.


    Not really, the three horses are so similar in so many ways that it makes very little difference which one wins.

    I am afraid my negativity stems from many years of political involvement and the horrible realisation of how pointless it was and how self centred so many, if not quite all, politicians are.

    If voting changed anything they would abolish it. The establishment always wins.

  • Comment number 38.

    One hopes not - another 5 years of Brown or a hung Parliament will be an absolute disaster for Britain. Any semblance of an hung Parliament will bring the currency and gilt markets tumbling down on us and could make Greece's problems look like a stroll in the park.

  • Comment number 39.

    If RichYork is correct, then we are stuck with NuLab for ever, and the only hope of saving the country would be a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition - about as likely to happen as snow in August.

  • Comment number 40.

    5. At 10:17am on 17 Apr 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:
    """Those stats just go to show how New Labour have fixed the boundaries in recent years (and the Tories before that). One hundred seats from 30% of the vote is ridiculous (and I don't support the Lib Dems)."""""

    """""If Gordon gets in from 3rd place, there may well be a revolution"""




    I cant remember these boundary changes what I do know, is these changes happen regularly under both labour and Conservative. So by your implication the Tories don't carry out gerrymandering sorry but a London Conservative borough was caught red handed moving socially deprived people into a neighbouring borough from its council estates then privatise the estates, all so Thacher redrew the boundaries so that large chunks labour wards were moved from marginal seats and put into safe Labour seats. And one reason the liberal's don't have more seats is these boundaries marginalise them. 20% 0f the popular vote for the amount of seats they get is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 41.

    It isn't a three horse race and it never will be. The Liberals can promise all sorts of things, safe in the knowledge that they will never have to deliver because they will never be in a position to form a Government.

    A vote for the Libdems is a vote for Labour. Vote Clegg get Brown.

    Anyone who wants another five years of Gordon Brown needs their head read IMO.

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't think it is, but it would be good if it was.
    It would be good for disaffected Labour supporters to be offered a real alternative to the centre right Conservative and Labour parties.

    On the nuclear question, why should we have nukes and not 90% of the countries of the world and why are people still kdding themselves we are world players?
    President Obama on coming into office said one of his greatest achivements would be to get to a nuclear weapon free world.
    We can help that process by scrapping and not replacing Trident.

  • Comment number 43.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't believe the election is a three horse race, for the simple reason that even if the Lib Dems gain over 30% of the vote they will still be by far the smallest of the three main parties. I also think that the current poll boost will be short lived and support for the Lib Dems will fall back down to around 23-25% by election day. Public opinion is very fickle.

  • Comment number 45.

    a weakened Gordon Brown propped up by Nick Clegg for a couple of years.....I cannot think of a better outcome for Cameron in the medium term.Patience my dear boy as the other two make a mess of it. What is the point of a Conservative coalition or a tiny majority? Good election not to win.

  • Comment number 46.

    The moment nick clegg stood shoulder to shoulder with david cameron was the moment we the electrate could see not who mr cameron really was,but who mr cameron was supposed to be and that he is definitly not.

  • Comment number 47.

    '9. At 10:29am on 17 Apr 2010, Catherine wrote:
    I can't believe that people would decide to vote for a 'party' after seeing one 'person' speak on television. Are people really taken in by a man trying hard to behave like Tony Blair saying all the things he thinks people want to hear. Do the Lib Dem's really have any firm policies? Could they steer us out of the recession? I think not. The only person on the debate that had anything of any substance to say was Gordon Brown. Go Gordon!'

    It is good for democracy and the election that this has occurred, and there can be no doubt it has certainly inspired interest. Whether Nick Clegg can sustain this new but unexpected momentum remains to be seen. At the end of the day it is still policies that count, despite the bias of the right wing press, and the Liberal Democrats might suffer from greater scrutiny of their policies. like you I also believe Gordon Brown is the more substantial candidate and I fully expect him to reinforce this position over the next two crucial debates.

  • Comment number 48.

    Let me think! We see no horses, we see no race!

    Comparing this fake Election to a race is the ultimate in unreality. Comparing the political cliques to race horses is even more far fetched.

    Democracy should never be perceived as in anyway resembling a race! It is about an individuals choice to determine the life they live! Not gambling on the outcome of some fake charade.

    I would respectfully, request readers, take a pot of coffee or tea, a packet of custard creams or Hobnobs, sit down somewhere comfortable, have a good dictionary at hand, then spend a little time reading through all my past comments on the subject of our FAKE democracy!

    I think I have clearly demonstrated, with rational reasoned argument and truthful observation, that our democracy is a fraud and this election is a fake.

    If the political parties can be described as horses they are all made of wood and the race they are engaged in is on a fair ground carousel!

    Start a Revolution inside your head!

  • Comment number 49.

    Yes. Infact it's more than a 3 horse race. We need to remember that projections, estimates, and opinion polls mean nothing. Votes actually cast are what counts and at this stage they almost certainly won't reflect each other.

    We also need to remember that everyone has an opinion. Every newspaper and every TV station. You can expect that atleast some of these projections and opinion polls will be manipulated/corrupted to try to influence the vote or give momentum to a particular party. So please just vote for who you want in power and ignore what others say.

  • Comment number 50.

    Three horse race? Don't be silly. More like a two horse race now. The Whigs and the Tories. As for Labour, their are running with a lame horse. Someone do them a favour, get the humane killer loaded and ready to put them out of their misery.

  • Comment number 51.

    20. At 11:01am on 17 Apr 2010, SystemF wrote:

    One only has to look at Clegg's nuclear policy to see what wishy washy, clueless, naive party the Lib Dems are.

    The Lib Dems want to rid the UK of their nuclear deterrent because the "cold war is over". Can they see into the future? how about in 20 years time? a military coup in some nuclear armed country or something. How on earth can they know what will happen?
    -----------

    Wrong. He is saying we look at cheaper alternatives.

    He said

    "What we’re saying is there are a number of options that you could explore in the future… you could equip the Astute submarine. What we’ve done is, I asked Menzies Campbell to look at the range of options and he’s published a number of options simply to make the point which the other parties won’t even accept that there are alternatives to a like-for-like replacement for Trident.

    “We haven’t yet settled on which of those options. What we’re doing is something the government are refusing to do, and the Conservatives refuse to do – they wont even include it in a future defence review. Whether we have a nuclear deterrent or not depends heavily on whether multi-lateral nuclear disarmament in the non-proliferation talks succeed or not I am a multilateralist."

    Did that sink in?

    -----

    Typical of the liberal/left that let their hearts rule over their heads. Which is why the liberal/left (the left in particular) are the most dangerous influence in western society.

    ------

    The right ar the paragons of peace are they? You remind me of Dick Cheney.

    --------
    Anyone remember the Lib Dem proposal of only jailing violent criminals?
    So burglars, fraudsters etc. wouldn't be jailed. They're a joke of a party.

    -------------

    That is not their policy so the joke is on you.

    The election is not a three horse race under this system. We need electoral reform so everyones vote counts.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 53.

    What a stupid but typical BBC question. In some parts of the country the election never was a three horse race so the impact of the debates which contravene the charter of our wondrous public sector broadcaster make no difference.

    There are other main parties which have been excluded. These parties are in government in three nations and have not been allowed a voice on matters devolved to them and on which members in Westminster have absolutely ni input.

    Three horse race? When oh when are the unionist parties and media and broacasters going to wake up and realise that the political scne has changed, continues to change, and will further evolve and devolve. It is high time the BBC did likewise.

  • Comment number 54.

    How crazy is it that on 30% of the vote the Lib Dems could (uniform swing nothwithstanding) still only hold 99 seats. So up 8% from the last election would get them only an extra 36 seats? Labour on 28%, still most seats?

    I'm sympathetic to their position on Trident and not living in the macho chest-thumping insistence of Labour and the Conservatives. But it will probably be this unbelievable, shockingly unfair voting system that will do it for me, coming polling day.

  • Comment number 55.

    To be honest I am considering the Lib-Dem's or BNP, now you may think what a variation. I don't expect either to win, but with enough seats in parliament at least a voice will be heard and voting on policies may be different. The Lib-Dem's because I agree with most of their policies and the BNP some of their policies, Labour and Conservative I take with a pinch of salt both are liars and cheats.

  • Comment number 56.

    I would like to think that the Lib Dems could be a credible challenger for power and break the duopoly of LabCon, but the mathematics of the first-past-the-post voting system contrives to discriminate against them.

    Labour has its support concentrated in inner city heartlands, the Tories have their countryside fiefdoms, but the Lib Dems' support is spread far more evenly across the country. They could come a close a close second in every constituency in the land, gain more votes than any other party, and not win a single seat.

    If you don't think this is fair, then you need to support the loud calls for wholesale electoral reform. Only proportional representation can deliver true democracy to this country.

  • Comment number 57.

    It's impossible to forget the destruction caused to our family and everyone we knew of last Tory Government from 1980 - 1997:

    1) 15% mortgage interest rates that destroyed families and businesses.
    2) Tories ordered 'our' police to physically attack miners striking for jobs - Scargill was the real enemy and pumped full of power with no concern for miners?
    3) Recession - Tories administration allowed around 3million unemployed.
    4) Hospital infrastructure allowed to crumble, but painted pink.
    5) Nurse training places, slashed.
    6) Trainee doctor places, slashed.
    7) School infrastructure allowed to crumble/teacher training slashed.
    8) Every essential service for human health/transport/communication such as:
    water - privatised.
    electricity - privatised.
    gas - privatised.
    public transport - privatised.
    cleaning in hospitals - privatised.
    sterilisation of surgical equipment - privatised.
    refuse collection - privatised.

    For any that remember, and have/and/or a certain knowledge of what Tories still stand for - just remember - the most hard-working and still in work, suffered such destruction they will never forget or forgive what Tories did?






  • Comment number 58.

    This TV debate has not fooled anyone, it was made to look like a three horse race by LABOUR manipulating the system,. Gordon Brown has to go because he is morally corrupt. There are other parties who did not get a look in, give them all a chance.

  • Comment number 59.

    The problem is the public isnt interested in parlimentary reform: ironic since thats what it wants and needs. So often complaints such as 'my vote doesnt count' and 'they're all the same'. Its because we dont have proportional representation that people feel this way.

    Somehow we must combine PR with consituency democracy, which is unfortunately not in tory or labour interests.

  • Comment number 60.

    The Nuclear "deterrent" is no deterrent if the enemy is willing to commit suicide to defeat their foes. I nuclear war breaks out then there will be very little left to defend. So a commitment to scrap nuclear weaponry would save a fortune and is not as foolish as some posters here think it is.
    Nick Clegg's performance was good and helped the Lib Dems to make their mark at last (a pity Charles Kennedy never got the chance). Whether it will make them electable is an entirely different thing.

  • Comment number 61.

    Just to add one more thing: looking at the numbers given in the header of this discussion, it is worth comparing projected share of the vote with projected share of seats:

    - Conservatives 33% of vote: 40% of seats;
    - Labour 28% of vote: 43% of seats;
    - Lib Dems 30% of vote: 15% of seats.

    There is not a third-world fledgling democracy anywhere that would tolerate such an anti-democratic, unfair system of electing a government. Even the ongoing elections in Sudan, with all their problems, have an element of proportional representation.

    We should not have to put up with this stitch-up between the two main parties any longer.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    Here's my prediction for May 7th, Labour will loose seats to both the Whigs and the Tories but the Tories will have the overall majority and start the new Government. Before anyone flames me, I'm still undecided. But one thing's for sure, I won't be voting for Labour ever again.

  • Comment number 64.

    18. At 10:57am on 17 Apr 2010, RichYork wrote:

    “I am sure it isn't altogether accurate but could it be possible that Labour could come third and still have more seats than anyone else?“

    A vote for the Lib Dem's you get Labour.

  • Comment number 65.

    One of the most impressive things about Nick Clegg was him naming the people who asked the questions, at the end of the debate. Very good PR touch. (Don't you think he looks a bit like Colin Firth?)

    The Lib Dem policies haven't change though. Voting Nic Clegg means voting Liberal Democrat policies.

  • Comment number 66.

    Anything could happen because..

    Many folks loath Gordon Brown and their way of doing things, yet Cameron with such a poor government should be in the 40%'s not dawdling below... but it's early day's yet.

    The question is can we trust the polls... there is one thing for sure people want change and that means 'goodbye labour.

    At least Brown has egg on his face.... we can say he;s been egged and what an home goal that was, after all he did tell folks to vote Liberal. OK he did say in marginals.

    I think who ever wins this election won't have won on merit otherwise one party would have a decent majority polling by now - whoever wins will be because folks wanted a change!

    Soon No 10 will be full of Novices Mr Brown!

  • Comment number 67.

    I think the only thing the debate was useful for was to get people interested in politics and get them looking into each party's proposals in detail. Do I think Nick Clegg will win? I hope not - his views on the Armed Forces are frightening and I for one never want to get rid of our forces! At least now people are interested, they can find out the policies of all. And as for the polls, 4,000 people vs 45 million registered voters? Does anyone actually believe these results?!

  • Comment number 68.

    The current electoral system, and recent boundary changes, certainly favours Labour. Until we change our electoral system to proportional representation it will never be, 'fair for all'

    My irritation is that I'm now getting party canvassers knocking on my door asking if they can rely on my support. The audacity! I've not seen my elected MP in these past years of office ... MP's only seem to visit their constituents when an election is looming; for the rest of their tenure they remain invisible and unheard of.

  • Comment number 69.

    I simply can't believe that the British people has such a poor memory.
    Has the past decade of NuLabour mis-management meant nothing to them. Are they happy to hand the reins of power back to Gordon Brown - the architect of this nation's downfall. Do you want higher immigration, higher taxes, more political correctness, lax control of personal data and more of the Nanny State culture we have now. Surely we should be able to believe that NuLabour's manifesto pledges will be kept, not routinely broken as has happened in the past.
    To watch him during the first debate trying his desperate best to ally himself to Clegg was nauseating and embarrassing. I am scared that many of NuLabour's biggest mistakes over the past 13 years have been lost in the concentration on the economic crisis.
    As awful as it has been, there were rafts of other contravertial issues over which Gordon Brown presided. This country deserves a change, and hopefully despite boundary changes and a massive electorial advantage we might be saved by Cameron/Clegg.
    Should NuLabour remain in power then all I can say is that the country will get what it deserves.
    Nick Clegg in his new found flush of support will be swallowed up and spat out by Mr. Brown as soon as he and his party have served their purpose.

  • Comment number 70.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 71.

    I think it would be wonderful if the result meant a coalition government. It is about time politicians worked together for the good of the country and we abandoned the seesaw politics that have been in force for so long.

  • Comment number 72.

    It's a two horse race, anything else would be a tragedy for the UK. And would some interviewer somewhere please remind Clegg that his party is older than one of the "old" parties and the fact that the electorate hasnt been duped into voting for them is no reason to suddenly become new.
    As has been said before, it's easy to be smart when there is no chance/expectation of power.
    So get your money on the blue horse or else, not the rest, but the UK is history.

  • Comment number 73.

    Rufus McDufus wrote:
    "Those stats just go to show how New Labour have fixed the boundaries in recent years (and the Tories before that). One hundred seats from 30% of the vote is ridiculous (and I don't support the Lib Dems).

    If Gordon gets in from 3rd place, there may well be a revolution."

    There is no 'may' about it.
    Not condoning it, but there WILL be a revolution if Brown polls in third place, but gets returned with a working majority.
    I would fully expect to see civil disorder, possibly to the point of military intervention (with the military on 'our' side not Brown's).

  • Comment number 74.

    Two horse race + one pantomime horse hiding Lord Ashcroft and William Hague bring up the rear.

  • Comment number 75.

    Any political poll carried out by any Rupert Murdoch owned media, including News International, The Sun, The Times, Sky, Fox, etc, etc., too many to mention?

    If I've missed a media outlet, station, newspaper, channel, internet provider, not owned by Rupert Murdoch (backing UK Conservatives) then apologise?

    One aspect, not open for discussion, by the Conservatives is the Rupert Murdoch support for the Conservatives?

    Perhaps, we may assume the BBC will be decimated by a Conservative government?

  • Comment number 76.

    The election is more wide open than any in my lifetime.
    The effects if this YouGov Poll is close to the mark show how ridiculous our voting method is. That should be changed. I wonder if David Cameronb would be prepared to consider the double ballot such as takes place in France?
    If the Lib Dems are willing to review possibilities of a less expensive nuclear defence than Trident such a review should be entered into with representatives of the major parties joining high ranking officers from the armed forces and the best scientific brains in a review body. We cannot give up defence against rogue states that may assist terrorists.

  • Comment number 77.

    Ive always voted Tory. I despise Labour and all that it stands for. Ive always thought the Liberals were irrelevant. Having watched and listened to the parties over recent months, I have found myself in serious doubt. Brown is dangerous. Ive always known that. His smile is fake, he is trying to con us, whilst hoping we all forget that HE was in charge of the economy while it was sinking. Cameron is a huge disappointment for me. He is smug, smarmy and as fake as Brown. His leadership will sink the Tories at a time when they should have been capitalising on Labour's incompetence. Strangely, whilst they are inexperienced and the butt of everyone's jokes, I look at Clegg and his party and something I dont see elsewhere..HONESTY. I dont know how good they would be, but I know they will have an honest attempt, given a chance. Can they really do any worse than Labour or the Tories ? Im seriously considering a Liberal vote. I cant even believe it myself..

  • Comment number 78.

    RichYork wrote:

    No it isn't a three horse race.

    If you put last nights Yougov figures into the swingometer on a well known polling site you get the following, even if its not perfect it gives an idea.

    Con vote 33% (seats 245)
    Lab vote 28% (seats 275)
    LibDem 30% (seats 99)

    I am sure it isn't altogether accurate but could it be possible that Labour could come third and still have more seats than anyone else?

    =============
    First past the post does produce these Mathematical quirks. Conservatives lost in 74 despite getting most votes, same happened in 1951 with Labour. Bush beat Gore and he lost the popular vote. These things happen.

    With a PR system in effect Minor Parties are continually in power and they decide which of the Major Parties forms a Government. There would be permanent coalition Government in the UK as no party has got over 50% of the vote since God knows when !

    The perfect Electoral system does not exist. We need to find out which one we want.

  • Comment number 79.

    I had always intended on voting Liberal and the debate only confirmed for me the need for change. We have had a hundred years of red-blue politics and this is absolutely not going to change if the Conservatives get in. However, both Labour and the Lib Dems are supporting a referendum on a more proportional voting system. With that in place our next election could be radically different. Whilst the chance of seeing Clegg as PM is pretty much zero this time the support gained in this election could potentially see him there in 5 years time. I think that's a change worth voting for.

  • Comment number 80.

    As someone posted on another board the disparity in percentages needed is such that Labour can come in third of a three horse (personally I think it is an insult to Horses) race and still enter Parliament as the Party with most seats. If Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg et al! want fairness in society how about starting with this heavily weighted voting system?

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    Observations regarding the scrapping of Trident. Nato and mainly the USA would be unlikely to endorse that. UK unlikey ever to unilaterally employ nuclear weapons against a rogue terrorrist state, Al Queda is a franchise on terrorism it is not a country and therefore Trident or the like could not be used against our enemies coming from that source. So he uses a plausible argument for scrapping it but it would leaves us looking weak and vulnerable. Clegg displays honesty but also naivity. Definitely a vote for him will let in Brown. His plans for tax reform sound great but in practise are not obtainable. All three parties know, that overall, taxes will rise quite considerably in the next parliament; the question is will they be direct taxes or stealth, indirect taxes.
    Although I am Tory I was seriously disappointed with DC's performance - he was just not tough enough and he was intimidated by GB. It was clear when the debate was announced that Clegg was likely to be the winner with the voters.I am not fickle and I know the only party to get us out of this calamity is the Conversative. Remember the strong economy Ken Clark handed Brown in 1997 and then we had the best pensions in Europe. Some of you here have very selective memories!

  • Comment number 83.

    I voted Liberal last time because I was unhappy with the war in Iraq and so did others where I live, the result being that the Tory got in through the back door with a majority of 499. As a consequence, I will probably vote Labour this time around. The LD do have some appeal, but it will as always be a 2 horse race.

  • Comment number 84.

    Hi, Its interesting to read about a three horse race, but there is another option. There are a large number of small parties and independent candidates across the UK. I feel that if we want real change the whole structure of parliament needs changing. This means moving away from the old party structure to a much more representative body. This will only be achieved if people look carefully at the choice of candidates in their constituency and see if a Independent could really represent them and make real change. Maybe if enough independents are elected the major parties may get serious about electoral reform.

  • Comment number 85.

    Three horse race or not i will never vote Torie after what that wicked witch Thatcher and then Major did to the coal industry.

  • Comment number 86.

    What exactly are we voting for? All three parties are pro-EU membership. All are anti the death penalty. All of them are kept afloat solely by donations from big business and rich men. Brown gave £500 billion to the uber-capitalists of the banking sector and now tens of thousands of public sector workers will pay for that decision with their jobs. The other two party leaders won't pull Brown up on this because they would have done exactly the same.
    We have a political elite who do not represent the people of Britain and who have no intention of doing so. So why participate in this grim farce?

  • Comment number 87.

    I see that RadialSymmetry wrote "We should not have to put up with this stitch-up between the two main parties any longer". With this I agree. If the public holds its nerve and we have a hung parliament the method of voting will change - but no party should expect to cling obstinately to one particular voting method. We need a consensus and that is likely to be either Alternative Vote or a run-off between the top two in any constituency where no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote.

  • Comment number 88.

    I think the most likely scenario is that the LibDems will get around 70 seats and probably hold the balance of power. The problem that they have is that Labour and the Conservatives both have large demographics who will vote for them come what may while the LibDems don't.

    Based on previous elections, the majority of private sector workers earning over £25K will vote Conservative; the majority of public sector workers, workers earning under £15K and those on benefits will vote Labour. The LibDems don't have any group within the population that can be pigeon-holed and said to be their "core vote" so they are left to compete for the middle income groups with the other two parties and pick up a few disaffected voters from the other two parties' core vote.

    Their strategy over the last 30 years seems to have been to be the alternative to the incumbent government rather than an alternative to the main Opposition party. When the Tories were in power in the 80s and 90s they were very much the middle ground appealing to traditional Tory voters who were unhappy with the Conservatives but couldn't face voting Labour. Over the last 13 years of Labour rule they have become progressively more left wing to the point where today they actually have policies that are more Socialist than the Labour party i.e. they are appealing to traditional Labour voters who are fed up with Brown but would never vote Conservative.

    I think this is their best opportunity since the 1930s. The 13 years of Brown and Blair have been at unmitigated disaster that has left the company bankrupt, at war, with uncontrolled immigration and public sector and welfare expenses spiralling out of control. More importantly Brown has achieved something I never thought I would see in my lifetime -his government is more divisive than the Thatcher government. I have never seen such animosity between public and private sector workers as that which exists today - mainly due to Blair's spineless capitulation to the unions when he tried half-heartedly to address the public sector pension bill. However, Cameron's wretchedly ineffective campaign does not inspire confidence either and it will be interesting to see if the LibDems can capitalise on that.

  • Comment number 89.

    Any Conservative pledges of 'empowerment' equals and simply translates to more privatisation?

    Well, we know that last Tory administration privatised our basic needs now owned by foreign owned companies over-charging UK citizens for basic human needs:

    Water.
    gas.
    electricity.
    public transport
    hospital cleaning.
    hospital management.
    failing IT systems in health, police and all public services.

  • Comment number 90.

    Is the personality of one man the stamp of authority on the 600 odd Lib Dem PPC's?

  • Comment number 91.

    Cleggy did alright the other night, but he knows votes are up for grabs from labour so he has to continue the attack, Foggy Cameron is still full of ideas and sincerity, and he is truely vibrant about what he says but he has to drive home the truth about where we stand as a country, as for Compo well the games up, all those bets on horses that come in last are coming home to roost like dead pigeons.

  • Comment number 92.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 93.

    A Three Horse Race? maybe for the number one seat.

    But for the local candidates.. nope

    Certainly isn't in Scotland or Wales for that matter, infact i'd be surprised if the Tories get a single seat up in Scotland


    Come on Beeb, get the facts right...

  • Comment number 94.

    It was like a breath of fresh air seeing the Liberal Democrats in second place! The only reason why many people don't vote for them is that they think that their vote is wasted! It is to be fervently hoped that this momentum is continued and the election turns into a three horse race. That should sharpen up the candidates.
    I am old enough to remember Labour and Conservative governments right back to the second world war. Although a Labour Party supporter, I believe that the country would have been better served had the Liberal been a stronger force during that period. The Labour and Conservative parties have been far too complacent, seeing themselves as the natural inheritors of power. I hope that the electorate gives them both a 'kick up the backside' in this election! Above all, we need an electoral system that fairly reflects the views of all of us, not just the minority of people who at present end up voting for the party that gets in power!

  • Comment number 95.

    It is a multi horse race. The public are sick to death of the pass the parcel by Labour and Conservative, who are as bad as each other. Labour have followed on from the Consevatives and destroyed their own support base! Shooting themselves in BOTH feet. I think the Libs will improve their position, in fact everyone who is not Tory and not Labour will and the country will become ungovernable.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry to disappoint you all but the result is a foregone conclusion. It will be a hung parliament with lib dems holding the balance and no party able to bring about a meaningful alliance. There will be a further election in the autumn which will bring yet another hung parliament. By which time the pound will be so undervalued as to mean nothing and electoral reform so obviously overdue will no longer be achievable either. We will still be covered in Icelandic detritus as we were two years ago and England will have been beaten by the Germans in the world cup on penalties which at least sounds more like normality.

  • Comment number 97.

    No I do not agree that it is a 3 horse race, what about UKIP, The Greens and of course regrettably BNP.

    Having watched Nick Clegg I was very impressed indeed and even thought of voting Liberal, however, I have now read their manifesto, and was shocked to see that they would consider joining the monetary side of Europe. With all the problems Greece is experiencing, and now reading about Germany possible withdrawal, who in their right mind would wish to expose our existing financial problems to even more problems of which we would have no control.

    I was thinking of voting Liberal as they did vote against the War and wish to take out ID cards, plus they do have Vince Cable. But then again the Tories say they will cut down on the expense of ID cards.

    No, I am afraid that whilst Nick Clegg comes over as 'Mr. Nice Guy' there is more to him than meets the eye. To vote without considering Liberal policies would be wrong.

    The country has had enough of Labour after 13 years, the Liberals for the moment may seem to be in the ascendency, but the Tories have quite a number of people who have had experience of government and I do not consider they would do a worse job.

    To keep harking back to the 70s under Maggie Thatcher is wrong, David Cameron is no Mrs. T, and one thing I remember before the debate was that he half admitted that he was nervous and why not there was a lot riding personally on this first debate. However, if anyone wishes to know what David Cameron is like watch the parliamentary debates and in the Commons he comes over as forceful and definitely a leader.

    TV unfortunately exposes a great deal, Brown was rude and interrupted, Clegg was very shrewd and clever, and spoke directly to a number of audience members. Cameron on the other hand started by apologising to the public for the behaviour of MPs, the others did not.
    He showed that he is very human and was very aware how harshly the media and the public would judge him. Sometimes what appears as lack of confidence but might mean he did not wish to appear as arrogant.

    It is still early days, let us see what transpires in the next 2 debates, but it would be great if there was more audience participation.

    Howabout, a Question Time sort of programme with all the leaders of the various parties taking part, and the audience, now that would be interesting.

  • Comment number 98.

    it is a great shame that the media companies are allowed to cheat the british public,
    too show the same 3 on 3 different occassions shows who runs the media companies and how much they are manipulated,
    it would have been nice to hear constructive Criticism from other parties
    shame on these companies

  • Comment number 99.

    stanblogger wrote:
    "...It would mean a weak government, facing the prospect of another election at any moment....
    They would probably not risk the massive cuts in public expenditure that their big business and City friends are urging, but would continue with a large unfunded budgetary deficit and use it for public investment in a new railway system and renewable energy sources, for example, to create facilities for the future and the jobs that are desperately needed at the moment...."

    Well I hate to break it to you Stan, but a government that behaved in the manner you suggest would face a quick & nasty economic meltdown.
    Labour are currently borrowing 25% of all public spend.
    The markets are giving them leeway up till the election.
    After it, whoever is the government will need to come up with a deficit reduction plan. This will not be at the behest of any "big business and City friends", but a ten ton beast called the global bond markets.
    Failure to appease this beast will mean a plummeting £stg, rising interest rates, economic mayhem including going back into recession, and in the worst case any or all of emergency spending cuts, public sector employees going unpaid, civil unrest & an IMF bailout (followed by spending cuts far more painful than any the govt alone would have envisaged).

  • Comment number 100.

    Surely this weeks debate highlights how fickle we are as an electorate, if all of a sudden the Lib Dems are a viable force.They are if people want them to be, that is the point of our electoral system.Their strengths lie in their political honesty, which I think now is reflected in their leader.Even if you disagree with some of their policies, which is true of all political parties, why not give these guys more power as the other two have had long enough and have become complacent.GO LIB DEMS!

 

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