Monday, 3 May 2010

Summing up the last debate (1/3)

NICK CLEGG: Why don't we save time? Instead of making endlessly misleading comments, let's assume every time you talk about our policy, it's just wrong. What I'm saying is, there is a layer of illegal immigrants. We have to deal with it. We have to get them out of the hands of criminals. You say numbers. Can you now tell me - am I right or wrong that 80% of people who come here come from the European Union, and your cap would make no difference to that? Is that right? Yes or no.

DAVID CAMERON: We have said new EU countries should have transitional controls. We all remember what happened when Poland joined the European Union. We were told 13,000 people would come, and in fact it was closer to a million. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats cannot wriggle on this. They have spoken about 600,000 people. If that's the number, they should come clean about that.

NICK CLEGG: We're not wriggling, I just want a response. Yes or no, do 80% of immigrants come from the European Union, which wouldn't be affected by your cap? Yes or no?

DAVID CAMERON: It's affected by having transitional controls. I've answered your question. You should answer mine.

DAVID DIMBLEBY: I think we should perhaps bring Mr Brown in. Third Debate Transcript

It was a brilliant moment, an awesome comeback and, more importantly, true: most immigrants are from inside the EU and, hence, cannot be stopped in any way from coming and working in the UK, cap or no cap. It may be frustrating for the British people, but this is it: it’s one of the advantages and the drawbacks of being a member of the Union.

But more importantly, it was the moment in which, in my eyes, David Cameron lost the third and last Prime Ministerial debate. I thought Gordon Brown was good, argumental, answering questions and giving us all the needed details on Labour’s policies. Also, he was shaking his head rather dramatically every time one of his opponents spoke, which in my opinion could have one of two effects on the public: they were either convinced of the failures of the policies belonging to the Tories/Lib Dems or they were rolling on the floor in peels of laughter at a prime minister who looked like a broken doll.

At the same time I saw Nick Clegg as waffling about ideals and fairness and only half talking about reality. And that’s not a figure of speech as every time he spoke, regardless of what those before him were saying, he would start by arguing for fairness and change and all that and only then go into detail on his party’s policies. Good plan, aurea mediocritas is called that way for a good reason, but dead obvious for the public, who were probably going mad over how the whole debate seemed to be at a standstill/take a publicity break every time he started talking or just the sheer density of the word ‘fairness’ per sentence. Well, at least he tried, one has to give him some credit for that. Then, David Cameron was not responding to attacks coming from either of his opponents, but, thank God, he was not reminding us of the black man he met in Plymouth either. He was coherent, though a bit patronising at times and overall quite good. But, let’s be honest about it, none of them actually answered the questions, Dimbleby had to repeat them more than twice and, more importantly given the event of a hung parliament, not at one point did we see them agreeing on anything, trying to bridge their positions. Long lost are the days in which the economist wrote about Nick Clegg ‘Who the devil?’ or those in which we all agreed with Nick. There is no sense of cooperation, not only with those who will be the alleged king-makers, the Liberal Democrats, its a proper cat fight and it’s on...

So, if I were to judge it wasn’t a great success for either of them, but overall Brown was good, Clegg was reasonable and Cameron was, well, holding a monologue. But it would seem that I’ve seen a different debate from the rest of the world, as not many share my views, the polls showing the Tory leader as the winner of this last debate. Yet, why have Cameron and Clegg done so good, while Labour is going down in the polls?


(Well, this is just the first of a series of 3 posts on, basically, how to win an election.)


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