UK election - TV debate

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Catchoftheday, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Catchoftheday

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    Did anybody watch this? How do you think it Went? I didn't watch it myself but from what I've heard Nick Clegg seems to have come out of it best, maybe this was due to low expectations or maybe he had the least to lose?
     
  2. Jason

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    Yes I watched it.

    It has to be said that all three men did very well. The sort of pressure involved in this 90 minute interview is intense, and the picking over it afterwards has been excessive. None made a gaff.

    Clegg managed to look like a real candidate simply by the format which gave him equal status to the other two - it was an enormous media boost to his popularity before he even said anything. His message - "a plague on both your houses" is simple and popular, though of course very deeply flawed.

    Unfortunately the majority of the British electorate do not have the level of education to comprehand the issues. Instead of sensible discussion on policy the election is being decided by PR. And Clegg's PR was good - he really tapped a vein of discontent with the two main parties.
     
  3. dandelion

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    Yes I watched it, more or less. It was a bit like watching the weather forecast, you want to know what it says for you but somehow your attention wanders while theyre talking about all the rest. I found discussion programs about the debate more watchable than the debate. I think the reason is because politicians talking platitudes is not informative. The debate might have been more than an hour of them talking but it was still only headlines of what their policies might be. So lots of ' I believe in greater wealth and a better country', but not a lot of detail of how this is going to happen.

    I think Brown comes across as dour. He has the difficult position because he has to defend 13 years worth of mistakes. Also it is very hard for someone who has already had 13 years to improve the country to explain what new they might wish to do, and if they now have new policies why they didnt do them before. Both the others can say 'look at the mess he made', and say 'I will do better'.

    Clegg has the easiest position because he could also say, 'but when you were last in power, you did just as bad', and neither lab or con can show anything the liberals did wrong in government in the last 50 years. But apart from that a couple of times he noted something or other which the other parties were now proposing, but which when his party had proposed it in the house of commons the others had rejected it.

    Clegg benefitted firstly because people got to see him in action which they probably had not before. He looked and performed at least as good as the others, but the simple fact of people now knowing he could do just as well instantly enhanced his credibility. When the three are judged together he seemed just as seneible as the others. If this was a job interview for picking just one you might find him the most likeable of the three. Someone you could work with.

    People have said Brown did worst of the three. Im not convinced, I think it was Cameron. Browns job was to defend a far from perfect record as best he could. Cameron had to show he was much better. He failed to show he was better than Clegg. Cameron's problem is that he has been around for 5 years too. Once he came across as the new hero. Now he is getting a bit frayed at the edges, and Clegg has the advantage of being new.

    The difficulty the liberals face is not their policies but their credibility. People may like them but wont vote for them because they dont believe they can win. Thus if they dont like the current government they choose the alternative which they think can win. The conservatives problem now is to persuade people they are a better alternative than labour. I don't believe Cameron managed to do this, which leaves voters only one other option, which is Clegg and his liberals.

    Actually, this might be quite a dangerous situation for Cameron, and indeed the labour party. My perception would be that disenchantment with the two main parties has never been higher. 13 years ago the conservatives were hated a good deal more than labour is now. They still have not recovered from their own record of failures. Labours record is mixed: it has popularly increased spending on health and education, did a reasonable job of balancing the budget and managing the economy (particulalry through a world financial disaster), but suffered the near fatal decision to invade Iraq. Then they have carried through a lot of minor policies which might please one lot, but annoy others. For example, policies on drugs, imprisonment without trial, and lots of others over the years which I now forget. But the conservatives have just as many annoyances in their own position. The trend over 30 years has been a slow growth in support for the third party because of disenchantment with the other two. By now there may be a majority of the population who would like a fundamental change.
     
    #3 dandelion, Apr 17, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  4. D_Tully Tunnelrat

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    I watched part of the replay on YouTube. I was impressed by Clegg's performance, but then he had the least public record to defend. Brown started quite slowly, but did manage to pick up steam towards the end. He almost got lost in his joke about the airbrushed smiling posters of him, put up by Ashcroft/Cameron, which was almost better than the botched punchline. Cameron really could have landed some better shots at Brown on the military, and the economy, which is where he is most vulnerable, and where Clegg would seem to lack experience, and gravitas. Overall it was amazing to me that this was a first of it's kind for the UK. Although a bit dull, and predicatable at times, it does offer voters a chance to see how the candidates perform in a live setting.
     
  5. dandelion

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    There was a tv review of US presidential debates just recently. many US presidents, and UK prime ministers, have turned down debates because they feared it automatically places their opponents on an implied equal footing. This was true in spades in the case of Clegg.
     
    #5 dandelion, Apr 18, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  6. superbot

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    I cannot believe that there are people who will,in all seriousness,make their electorial decisions on the basis of these absurd sound bites.Once again we are being fobbed-off with these highly organized set pieces of media based nonsense.Lets have a return to door to door canvassing where we can ALL have our say, face to face and take the the media OUT of the equation for once!...
     
  7. dandelion

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    Seems you will have to. The election campaign has become talk about coming debate: debate: discuss debate: repeat three times.

    The debate has made a dramatic and unexpected difference because it has presented the liberal on an equal footing to the other two. Nothing is over until its over, but right now everyone is trying to figure how to fight a campaign where there are three possible winners when they had planned campaigns with only two possible winners.

    Interestingly some suggest that the effect has been exactly to take the media out of the campaign, because a campaign where stories originated in newspapers, which mainly favour tories, has become one where stories originate on TV, with strict rules of equal treatment for all three. The libs are ecstatic that the newspapers cant simply ignore them into third place. Today they tried to rubbish Clegg, but even that seems counter productive, because all they have done is put him on every front page alongside criticisms which do not stand up.

    In the second debate they all did perfectly fine. For my money Brown did better than before. He showed a bit of conviction here and there and perhaps came across as the guy who knew what to do from experience. Clegg probably did much the same. How well might depend on your own views of various policies, whether they make sense to you or not. But he did his best to argue his past history working with the EU, first for the conservative commisioner and then as an international negotiator, well qualified him to deal with the EU to british advantage.

    Cameron got snarky a couple of times accusing the other two of squabbling between themselves, and Brown said the others reminded him of his two five year olds at bath time. I was not impressed. This was supposed to be a debate, and I did not think it made any sense to criticise the other two just as they got going and showed a bit of cut and thrust. I think Cameron did it to ridicule the idea of a lib-lab coalition which was perhaps a legitimate point, but not in a context where the whole idea was to argue out their competing ideas. Time for consensus and compromise after the election.
     
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