Leaders debate

So last night nearly 10million people in the UK settled down to watch the Leaders Debate on ITV. I’d been around my best mates house for dinner and she was more interested in watching DIY SOS than election stuff so I came home to watch it and to be honest I was really glad I did because I found the whole thing irritating beyond belief.

In a nutshell I felt that Nick Clegg did much better than I was expecting, Gordon Brown was also better than I’d imagined he would be and I found David Cameron really disappointing. Annoying arse of the evening award had to go to Alistair Stewart though.

I was all fired up last night and wanted to blog but I’d deliberately left my power lead in work so I only did 3.5hours work and by the time I went to write a post I was out of juice. In the cold light of this evening I’m much more chilled and hopefully more reflective so this might make more sense anyhow.

My general thought this evening is centred around what a missed opportunity it was! I thought the format was alright but no more than alright. I felt that it would have really benefited from some genuine audience interaction; I wanted to hear more from each of the leaders – I’d have rather it covered fewer topics and they’d actually discussed their policies rather than a liberal dosage of politics by anecdote. While I was delighted to hear social care get a mention, I was less pleased to see cancer treatment rolled out as a political issue (and trust me cancer is an issue I care about deeply but not above and beyond all other matters) and couldn’t believe that no-one mentioned dementia. I was also pleased to hear support for school federation but didn’t really learn enough about any of their education policies…agreed entirely with the 17 year old lad who asked the question though, my experience is that the education system is far too focused on targets at a cost of education for education’s sake. Finally I welcomed the acknowledgement and agreement of all the leaders that carers are heroes…now if only they didn’t forget that.

Having said all of that I was really hoping that I’d learn more and actually have a clearer idea of who to vote for as a result, sadly that isn’t the case. I am absolutely no clearer about how I should use my vote….and my vote is worth more than most, 0.330 in Newton Abbot over a national average of 0.253…you can find out more at the Voter Power Index.

The other thing that has been surprising me lately is that normally if I want to learn about something I don’t know much about my twitter stream is a useful source. However since the election was announced there appears to have been a huge increase in people passing views or anecdotes or slagging parties off, but very little constructive comment. I’m truly not interested in what the Prime Minister’s wife’s toes look like, or where Samantha Cameron is visiting, or how many of those living on the edge of society our leading politicians have had a chat with this week, or where they went to school, or indeed what class they are. Neither am I interested in people I usually respect on my twitter stream just slagging other parties off.

I respect people who stand up for what they believe and I have a lot of time for those who are committed to a particular party or viewpoint…however I still don’t know who to vote for and I’ve received very little convincing policy information or ideas from their representatives or from my usual favourite twitter suspects and I’m a bit disappointed really. I’m hoping someone will rise to the challenge and try to convince me why I should use my vote for the party they support…based on some real policy argument; please…someone…anyone…pitch to me why I should vote for your party? Or even why I should vote?

In the meantime, take a butchers at this piccie that @paul_clarke tweeted just after midday yesterday – his predictions for the twitter coverage of the leaders debate that were completely vindicated and sum up all my waffle above far more eloquently 🙂

Big thanks to Paul Clarke for letting me copy his piccie.

Now please would someone convince me to vote! Thanks very much.

0 comments on “Leaders debate”

Chris Davies says:

Seems that I have more power than most! http://www.voterpower.org.uk/dorset-south but I have yet to be convinced to not vote as I always do. I did try http://www.whoshouldyouvotefor.co.uk/ and came out LD/Green – but that would be a waste down this neck of the woods, given the split between LAB and CON. I know I hate CON policies, and the LAB MP waved at Harv the other night (http://twitter.com/jim4dorset/status/12125827705) but think I might actually be more LD than anything else! I’ll watch the next few debates, keep reading online, and see what happens closer to the day. Nice post George!

Tracey Nixson says:

I agree that it is no clearer after the debate & I think the format needs tweaking. The restorative justice approach, adapted might get a clearer insightful response to questions. My way of dealing with stuff has always been to listen to the local candidates and check out their integrity eg would they toe the party line or listen to the constituents?I’ve had one prospective round doorstepping so far and he was very interesting and listened & did not do any of that deflection defensive stuff that is so commomn in party politics. My major triumph so far has been to encourage Clio to listen to what is going on and not waste her voting opportunity.

skingers says:

The debate has energised what could have been a pedestrian election. More comment than real change I fear, the next debate will build or break Cleggy; that is the problem with putting your head above the parapet. He may play it safe but that will invite comparison to the first debate. A real dilemma but it will be interesting to see how the Cameron/Clegg dynamic evolves; GB is irrelevant. I have felt the polls are way off for months, uniform national swing is a myth and the difference between the raw data and the ‘adjusted’ data immense. The methodology seems odd at times and varies between pollsters but the difference is significant. The marginals are where the real fight will be joined and these are seldom sampled in detail and tend to be locally focused, so adjustment difficult.

Policy will become the victim as personality dominates and Cleggy get lined up for a political kicking. But should he hold the line and deny a large majority to Cameron then we may see real ‘democratic’ change. And that would be interesting. Cleggy did not win the debate, democracy won the debate.

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