Saturday, 17 April 2010
Blind Date or Sale of the Century
Well the first observation that we both noticed, was the studio audience being predominately well healed middle England types, of the middle age variety, hardly any young people except for the young school student who presented the education question. All the leaders were suited and booted, probably new suits with ties that represented party colours, we noticed that Gordon Brown was wearing a pink tie, a soft colour that didn’t upset we suppose middle England. Looking back it did seem like a beauty contest for politicians, and the feel of Blind Date or Sale of the Century.
An average of 9.4 million people tuned in to see Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown go head to head, making it the most-watched show of the day - beating even Coronation Street which immediately preceded it.
It had more viewers than the other four terrestrial channels combined at that time.
However, despite the historic nature of the event, it proved to be less of a crowd-puller than the live episode of EastEnders earlier this year which drew nearly six million more, with an average of 15.3 million.
The economy was clearly seen as a key subject by all three leaders. Cameron attacked Labour's plans to raise National Insurance contributions, warning that they would cost jobs. He also said Mr Brown was content to continue to waste money for another year before tackling the deficit.
Brown countered by suggesting that taking money out of the economy now would run the risk of a "double dip" recession, and raised the spectre of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Clegg accused his opponents of being obsessed by the idea that the deficit could be tackled by removing waste from the public sector. He said the problem could not be addressed by cutting the bill for "paper clips and pot plants in Whitehall."
This was indeed Nick Clegg’s big moment he knew the evening presented him with a golden opportunity to gain mass public exposure on an equal footing with his Tory and Labour counterparts.
He made no attempt to side with either of his opponents, at one point during a debate on education policy commenting that: "The more they attack each other, the more they sound exactly the same."
Mr Clegg attacked the Conservatives for promising to balance the books, introduce tax cuts and pump funds into the NHS, and said Labour had failed on immigration and law and order.
He was by far the best performer (not content) out of all the three, and this has been reflected in the latest crop of opinion polls putting his party second with the Tory Daily Telegraph calling Clegg the new Barack Obama.
The Sun/You Gov poll on Saturday morning is the first proper national post-debate opinion poll. Its results are utterly detonating. It shows the Conservatives on 33% (down 4% from the last YouGov), the Liberal Democrats on 30% (up 8%) and Labour on 28% (down 3%).
Meanwhile back on the floor in Scunthorpe Brian say’s many people that he had spoken too since, have said they watched part of the debate then turned it off. In Newham Jim say’s he hasn’t as yet found anyone who watched it at all.
At the end of week one, we are still looking at a hung parliament.
Post By: Jim Lawrie and Brian Hopper or In the Box
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