1. The debate itself was one of the winners
Like some kind of X Factor with no singing and dancing this was a one of those shiny TV spectaculars that the Media City spaceship at BBC Salford was built for. A cathode ray moment that really caught the moment despite the determination of some to get the whole thing so scripted and so nailed down that there would be no room for anyone to move. This time the debate seemed to have really caught the public imagination.
Maybe it was the different format, maybe the British are getting used to the idea but even people who never talk about politics were getting slightly engaged by the debate.
Will it change the way they vote, will it change the way they think about the political process? that remains to be seen
2. Are we entering a time of politics of coalition or was this a quick look at the menu before the proper choices get made?
Like an excited coach party stumbling into posh well lit restaurant the public flicked through the cluttered menu whilst being distracted by the babble of the internet and the gaggle of chat. In front of them was a motley crew of representatives and meals to choose from- each with its own recipe. This was a far bigger menu than they had ever been offered before with some fresh meat mingling with pieces of old brisket with exotic foreign names like La Farage.
Disaffection with the political process and the fracturing of everything in culture caused by the internet means that politics as well as all other human endeavour has been affected by the grand digital drift. The endless tapping journeys on the internet mean that every shade of opinion has its own community, its own space. Music, culture, friendships have all been turned into a million micro niches and so to have politics. Whether this will continue to the wire remains to be scene- will the small parties turn up this heat or will opinion coalesce around the familiar blocs as D Day approaches? Far from joining people together in the idealistic warm glow of technology that so many web pioneers promised with new age eyes the internet has subdivided us into ferocious and self righteous digital mini mobs -a new kind of democracy…?
3. Ed Miliband did ok
Perceived as the weak link by the baying hordes of the right wing press and trapped by his own Wallace and Gromit public personal Ed Miliband performed far better than expected but still not enough to convince the voters into some kind of stunning turnaround. Once you have a dodgy image in the public eye it’s so difficult to shake off and after a shakey start his public image has aways been wobbly. Odd that in the flesh he is actually a very good speaker but in the strange world of TV seems to turn into a Spitting Image puppet.
The right wing press ignored the stats and the polls that saw him shading it on the evening and called it a nightmare for Miliband but then that’s their agenda as they see the labour leader as the potential Achilles heal in his party. With maybe too much attention being paid to the party leaders and too little to the party policies this era of presidential politics seems to be growing and growing. Maybe in our celebrity obsessed culture we just cannot concentrate on more than one person at once…
4. The women performed well
The bluster and the alpha male strutting or the arrogant disdain of the men was constantly defected by the women leaders whether you agreed with them or not.
5. What is David Cameron so scared of?
Surely the smooth adman would find a situation like this to his liking. Surely he has spent his whole life from Bullingdon to the PR world being trained to strut around these environments. With all the hoo hah about whether he was even going to turn up to the debate and then laying out endless lists of what they had to be before the event had even started he gave of the air of a man running scared from debating issues that surely he holds close to heart. On the night Cameron gave the air of a supercilious, I’m above it all, remote presence. Let the rest of them eat cake and the small fry argue it out seemed to be his tactic but it made him seem even more cold and out of touch than he already is.
6. The end of Nick Clegg?
He didn’t actually perform that badly – certainly no worse and not that much different than last time when he was briefly feted as St. Nick but the cruel whims of living in the public eye and having to, at best, compromise have seen him and his party discarded – what were once the great white hope and the party that was being spoken of breaking the two party system down has been a victim of its own brief success. In this moment of multi party politics the Lib Dems are just another yapping small party in the multi party political system they touted but now threatens to drown them.
7. Nigel Farage – the establishment outsider/insider
No matter how badly he performs. No matter how much he resembles the oily, establishment banker culture and world that he comes from, nothing affects his leathery hide. Constantly playing the anti establishment card whilst being a part of the establishment works time and time and again for him. He had little say about anything apart from immigration and seemed all at sea and the night’s real loser but held up well in the opinion polls.
8. Nicola Sturgeon
28 per cent of a Yougov poll pronounced Nicola Sturgeon the winner and the right wing press are calling her the most dangerous women in politics- surely a win win. Their fear of Scotland masks the real separation which is London sneaking out of the United Kingdom as some kind of super monied, triple alpha, modern version of medical city state with all the money and resources whilst the rest of the UK crumbles. The potential leader of the third biggest party in the new Parliament performed well but there are some long hard choices to be made beyond this debate.
9. The right wing press seemed to be watching a different programme than the rest of the UK…
The big story in the Daily Mail was Ed Miliband buying some shoes…
10. Ultimately though did it make a difference?
Was this a piece of great theatre, politics as showbiz or will it effect the election? thoughts please!