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Leaders debate snap response

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Paul Mason | 21:27 UK time, Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cameron's need to address soft Tories, dominance of Clegg and resurgence of Brown on his social/economic issues meant centre of gravity of entire debate was, de facto, the socially liberal political centre. I did not hear Cameron make a single attempt to viscerally appeal to right-of-centre "true-blue" conservatism. So trying to view the whole thing as an outsider, the debate process has pulled the locus of UK politics slightly to the liberal centre.

I also thought the best question was about the Pope. All three men were frank in their opposition to the Catholic Church's social teachings, but in a different way. Again, evidence of how far towards secularism/social liberalism British political discourse has moved. That's the snap observation.


  • Comment number 1.

    Much closer this time but Clegg 1st, surprisingly GB second and a rather grasping (I thought) Cameron third.

    I missed the question on the pope unfortunately as the BBC feed went down at that point.

    An act of god obviously.

    I wonder how Tony Blair would have answered that question?

  • Comment number 2.

    Maybe you are right about the best question but don't you find it strange that the most interesting segment was on a subject which will have absolutely no influence on the outcome of the election?

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe you are right about the best question but don't you find it strange that the most interesting segment was on a subject which will have absolutely no influence on the outcome of the election?

    ... and probably of little or no interest to the majority of the electorate.

    If you do a search of various well-known UK messageboards and blogs the 'Pope Question' pops up most as being the one when people switched off - which as it was early on in the debate is interesting in itself.

    I suppose there is a Catholic connection in there somewhere as it was a piece of self-flagellation to get to the end of that debate.

  • Comment number 4.

    The election is about the capture of the centre ground stupid. However that is only sensible if you have not alienated the wing on which the party is established through having affairs with 'strangers'. This is what New Labour and GB has done and they will pay a heavy price for the neglect. Crosses on ballot sheets not promises on door steps is what matters. I would not be shocked if the Labour vote collapses and they end up with no more than 150 seats.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes. I was also impressed with the question about the Catholic Church. When was the last time something like that cropped up in a general election debate. It shows the value of these TV debates, issues that need to be discussed get airtime...!

  • Comment number 6.


    The collapse of the labour vote is a possibility. I think there will be a potential surprise dynamic where many lifetime labour voters reflected in labours poll numbers at the moment, will not bring themselves to vote for anyone else, they just will not vote on the day.

    All nick clegg had to do today was hold the ground he has taken to consolidate it, he did that, which means the hung parliament is pretty much guranteed now, which will be the focus of my next bet I think. The other parties knew it too I think hence they threw the kitchen sink at him pre this debate in the last 24 hours.

    **** or bust for them.

    I have a 100% record thus far on my predictions, proving quite financially rewarding this and adds a new intensity to watching it all unfold.

  • Comment number 7.

    I was making a cup of coffee just before the debate begun, was looking out of my window whilst the kettle was boiling and a chap in a suit with a gold tie was walking past my house - the Liberal candidate for Swansea West out knocking on people's doors.

    Not only is he the first candidate I have seen in the flesh anywhere but, more interestingly, is the lack of Labour posters and banners in Swansea West. I can honestly say that I have not seen a single one on my travels. Numerous Tory ones and today I saw my first single Plaid banner in someone's garden. The forest of golden Liberal posters in windows and banners in gardens is unmissable though - people even have them hanging like Christmas tree lights in their garden shrubs and they are so numerous you can't ignore them.

    Either Swansea Labour are waiting for a sudden flourish of canvassing in the final fortnight or they have just given up? Their vote could indeed collapse in parts of the country judging on what I am seeing locally. To be frank, I am shocked by their lack of prescence in a constituency that has been Labour for as long as I can remember.

    When the election begun I posted on here that I would probably vote for the first person to knock on my door and ask me to vote for them - someone did tonight.

  • Comment number 8.

    Catholosism , Paul.....thin ice! me....don't go there!

  • Comment number 9.

    Secularist/social liberalism??

    Except for the creeping Islamic fundamentalism that 'nice' people in the BBC don't want to recognise and that is so very well organised to leverage what it wants from a UK election.

    See for just how strategic it is.

  • Comment number 10.

    And who talked about what we are giving away in the international trade agenda? No one.

    How convenient for big business. Laugh laugh laugh...

  • Comment number 11.

    the murdoch Sun/YouGov instant poll says that cameron won. qith that much directorial manipulation I am hardly shocked.

    sky director showed cameron talking straight to camera for long periods, but cuts away continually when clegg and brown talk, to chop them up and not show them straight to camera.

    in future the direction and camera work should be left to independent impartial orgs.

  • Comment number 12.


    Why - a charismatic lie, of course!

  • Comment number 13.

    11. At 00:03am on 23 Apr 2010, wendymann wrote:
    the murdoch Sun/YouGov instant poll says that cameron won. qith that much directorial manipulation I am hardly shocked.

    As 'statistically accurate' polls consistently find totally differently, yet consistently in 'favour' of tribal affiliations of commissioners, they're worth diddly squat other than to feed the headline desires of the respective organisations. Including dea old Aunty's.

    in future the direction and camera work should be left to independent impartial orgs.

    One is sure that, with the next debate, 'balance' may well be restored. As with any QT.

    Those who control the medium can control the message, if so minded. Or allowed.

    There's always twitter, with the views of such as 'Head of all things [self-moderated] BBC [self-moderated]. Views are personal not those of the BBC. Mostly: "

    The Murdochs are not the only one's pushing skewed views. But then, I don't pay for them.

  • Comment number 14.

    Conspicuous by its absence. No real questions about the economy, or the recent allegations of fraud. Meanwhile, in the US (where they are normally a good few months if not years ahead of us in so many ways), there is a mounting list of credible voices clearly accusing financial institutions of fraud:

    James Galbraith
    Simon Johnson
    William Black
    Janet Tavakoli
    Elizabeth Warren

    I don't think they'll be able to keep a lid on this one. That's far too many people to take out in a hit-and-run swipe!

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm guessing that a 'balanced parliament' would be the best of outcomes for the BBC!

  • Comment number 16.

    sorry but have i got news for you won and the lpool game anything but lying toadies

  • Comment number 17.


    A very important point that along with the hosts less than partisan attack on Clegg also which he should be ashamed of.

    It is also interesting how the polls gave Clegg a narrow victory this time but the press coverage is all about

    'conservatives fight back' .. ''labour put in strong performance''

    '' No clear winner''

    The BBC have not declared awinner at all.

    Well let me put it this way the bookies have paid out on 3 out of 4 polls on Nick clegg being the winner. A winner is a winner, whether it is close or not there not a single headline out there which is actually factual.

    ''Nick Clegg wins again'' - 3 out of 4 polls gives narrow victory to lib dems leader?

    or even

    Nick clegg in narrow victory.

    If you read the papers and look at news coverage accross the board you would think that David Cameron won when IN FACT he did not.

    If any evidence was needed of the gross distortion of reality our media are actively engaged in to serve their paymasters interests then this is it.

    The BBC at least should have the guts to call it purely on a factual basis. Aparently not...

    Just ask the bookies who they have paid out on.

    Even the BBC dare not upset the incumbants it seems.

  • Comment number 18.

    What, the debate which was scheduled to debate international affairs AND DID NOT ADDRESS THE IRAQ WAR? Convenient, I say, for the Tories and Labour.

    Dr Liam Fox writes in March to the Iraq Inquiry that it is important that it gets to the truth even if " this cannot happen until after the election".

    Suits the established parties right down to the ground. Tucked away nicely, I say. For goodness sake, lets not go there now with the way Joe Public feels about expenses and banks. We'll av em out on the streets!

  • Comment number 19.

    17. At 12:52pm on 23 Apr 2010, Jericoa wrote:

    You might want to take a look at what the scientists have been blogging about in an attempt to understand the press activity. Try david colquhoun and his blog.

    I wouldn't trust any of them. I say Cameron's hand shaking/trembling last night. I'm not sure if it was nerves, or anger at what seemed to me the other two giving him a well-earned lesson. I'm putting it down to perhaps he can't fight back without chucking a phone!

    I've just listened to him talk about big government treating us like fools. What a nerve coming from a Tory. I've just heard him saying big government has left the people of Wales to suffer because that is what big governments do. What a nerve for any Tory to say that as if they'd never played the same game. I've just heard him talking about his Big idea. Well, with his policy I'm glad I'm not a muslim living in some parts of the UK. I'm glad I'm not white living in other parts.

    We could very well end up with Sharia law in 4 little streets, Catholic law in the next 4 and Old Testament rules even further up the road! And while that is going on, we'll not notice the importation of the latest ideology from the US: the nigtmarish Charter Schools!

    Scarying folk in an election campaign, David? Just not on, so stop it.

  • Comment number 20.

    I now know what the Torys/Cameron's secret weapon is.

    It's Cameron's top teeth. They have yet to make an appearance during the debates, in fact, I don't think they've ever made an appearance!

    Just watched Paxman's 'conversation' and Cam's top teeth were nowhere to be seen. Similarly last night's debate. I sat mesmerised by his top lip.

    I think they'll be revealed in the final week. They'll be so dazzlingly brilliant that the nation will sit transfixed then wander off, zombie like to the polling booth to vote for Dave's teeth.

  • Comment number 21.

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


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