Lex on the election debate – The FT
Clegg promised the earth and got away with it – Norman Tebbit
The case for Nick Clegg – Peter Hoskin on Spectator Coffee House
The Tories need to knock out Nick Clegg - Julian Glover in The Guardian
The secret to Clegg’s success – Adam Boulton on Sky
The great debate was boring – Adrian Michaels in The Telegraph
The next must reads post will be on Sunday. For all the election news and analysis over the weekend see the FT’s election indepth.
A post-debate puzzle. I have still to hear a convincing explanation as to why David Cameron dropped any reference to the Big Society. After all, he had launched what he called the Tory big idea with great fanfare only two days earlier.
Will Mr Cameron revive the theme during the next debates or have the campaign focus groups already told the Tory leadership that it won’t gain traction? I ask the question as someone who thinks there is something to be said for encouraging civic engagement and social responsibility. Read more
Nick Clegg may have rebuffed Gordon Brown’s advances during the great debate, but the Labour leadership is not giving up on the possibility of a post-election pact to keep the party in government after May 6.
Andrew Adonis was first out after the debate with an effort to keep alive the flame of romance. Mr Clegg, Lord Adonis told BBC Radio 4, may be playing hard to get for purpose of the campaign, but on all the big issues the Lib Dems are much closer to Labour than to the Conservatives. Whether it’s tax, political reform or fairness, the two parties of the centre-left are on the side of the progressives. Read more
There is near unanimity that Nick Clegg won the first leaders’ debate – watched by more than 9m people most of whom seemed to stick with it all the way through. Rather harder to gauge is what that victory will mean and how it will alter the dynamic and outcome of the election.
The FT election panel podcast discussed this at length and these are their conclusions:
Some things appear clear still. Gordon Brown had a bad debate. Most polls place him a poor third and his aggressive style didn’t do serious damage to David Cameron but made Mr Brown himself look bad. His contempt for David Cameron was far too visible and did not look attractive. Read more
We don’t normally do free advertising on FT.com but I can’t resist this site offering t-shirts with the undoubted soundbite of the debate.