Daily Archives: April 29, 2010

Jim Pickard

Alex 10.50 Final post. An intriguing tweet from Evan Davis. Did any of the candidates actually win this debate? Or was it a dead heat? The polls indicate that Cameron prevailed. But the numbers are suspiciously close to broad voting intentions. Could it be that the public reverted to the person they were intending to vote for at the begining of the debate? I suspect few people would have had their opinion changed by the last 90 minutes. It will be interesting to see whether the post-debate spin has more of an effect.

Alex 10.47 Some final thought from Alan Schroeder, our US debate guru.

Debates do not always produce clear verdicts, and in my opinion this one qualifies as a three-way stand-off. Judging purely on optics and not on substance, I would call this Brown’s best debate of the three. I thought he handled the Mrs. Duffy gaffe with deftness, and I liked his lawyerly closing argument. Even Brown’s goofy smile at the very end came across as endearing rather than menacing.

Cameron has never quite come into focus for me in these debates. He’s obviously an intelligent, thoughtful, and well-spoken man, but from my perspective he doesn’t leave much of a footprint. That criticism notwithstanding, I would also call tonight Cameron’s best debate, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do well in the snap polls.

Clegg has consistently been the most interesting performer of the three, but tonight he seemed to be drawing from the same familiar well instead of broadening his message. One wonders if Clegg’s surprise win in the first debate may have caused him to peak too soon. A strong finish in round three might have given Clegg, in the immortal words of Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, “that little extra push over the cliff.” Instead, he allowed both Cameron and Brown to make gains on him.

Jim 10.46 Clegg should also brace himself for a row tomorrow over his claim that 80 per cent of immigrants into Britain came from the EU. Apparently the real figure could be much lower; closer to a third.

Jim 10.43 Also, how come no one mentioned Gordon Brown’s Achilles Heel – ie his claim to have extinguished “boom and bust” permanently? And how come the other two didn’t nail Clegg over the LIb Dem policy of joining the euro? And did Cameron have a lucky escape in not getting grilled over his opposition to rescuing Northern Rock?

Alex 10.32 One thing to note. Was Vince Cable ever mentioned? What happened to the great Lib Dem economic titan? Had the economy been the topic of the first debate, we’d have heard Clegg repeating his name ad naseum. Shows how much his confidence has grown as leader. He don’t need little old Vince any more.  Read more

Who should govern Britain, The Economist thinks it’s David Cameron
Ten People Who Are Having a Good Election – Iain Dale
After all the fuss of yesterday, it is still the economy, stupid – Alastair Campbell
Opinion split on Bigotgate significance, says Sun/YouGov poll – The Guardian
Brown campaigns after ‘bigot’ row – Politics Home
Mervyn King: Election winner will lose power for 30 years – Evening Standard
British Leaders Brace for Final Television Debate – New York Times

Jim and Alex will be doing another live blog tonight for the final televised leaders’ debate, which will focus on the economy. This time the event starts at 8:30pm on the BBC. Our rolling commentary will probably start earlier, from around 7pm. Read more

Jim Pickard

Post Cleggmania, people are no longer talking about a big Tory majority as a certainty in the way they were doing months ago. Even the best psephologists have no idea which way this general election is going.

But the most likely outcome still seems to be the Conservatives either getting a tiny majority (over 326) or falling short by a few dozen seats.

PaddyPower is offering just below evens on David Cameron’s party ending up with 301-350 seats. That would be consistent with a poor showing for Labour – not helped by Duffygate – and a strong (but not astonishing) performance by the Lib Dems. Read more

Gordon Brown interview: Waiting for substance to tell – The FT
Labour’s new welfare rights cost £8bn a year - The FT
Nick the negotiator says deal or no deal – Robert Shrimsley in The FT
Roy Greenslade on how the media dealt with Gordon’s gaffe – The Guardian
Brown was not acting out of character, says Andrew Rawnsley – The Guardian
Gillian Duffy turns down big cash offers from the newspapers. Could the gaffe cost 2m Labour votes? – Daily Mirror
Gaffe goes global – Coverage from the New York Times
Will the leaders answer the big economic questions tonight? Robert Chote in The Times

Jim and Alex will be doing another live blog tonight for the final televised leaders’ debate, which will focus on the economy. This time the event starts at 8:30pm on the BBC. Our rolling commentary will probably start earlier, from around 7pm. Read more