Friday, April 30, 2010

Prime Ministerial Debate

I have just watched Thursday's broadcast of the Prime Ministerial Debate on BBC iPlayer.  Up until now, I have only read articles about the three leaders because I haven't been well enough to watch television.  I was surprised at some of my reactions.

1.  I found Nick Clegg very annoying.  He has learned the trick of using people's names and to keep saying them.  He blustered a lot and said nothing of substance.  Plus, he seemed to be trying to act as a moderator between Mr Cameron and Mr Brown while trying to score points for his vague banalities.  I hope for his sake that other viewers didn't react as I did.

2.  I have never, ever expected to have any sympathy with Labour, but I was impressed by Mr Brown's gravitas and his clarity.  This is no airy fairy confused bunny who doesn't have a clue. There was a sense of statesmanship and that the economy would be in safe hands.  I'm really surprised that I would feel like that.  

3.  I'm a natural conservative (with a small 'c') and was expecting to be impressed by Mr Cameron.  I was, but not as much as I thought.  There is something 'untried' about him.  He is aware that hard times lie ahead and that unpleasant choices will have to be made.  If you are going to make those sorts of choices, the Public needs to trust you as people trusted Churchill during WW2.  Broadly, I support their ideas of giving Authority back to school Principals, cutting red tape and endless form filling by teachers, police and medical personnel.  I like the idea of more power being devolved locally with local communities being run by local communities, and a lot less government interference.

The idea I support most was made by Nick Clegg.  He suggested that as the economy is in such a bad way, that chancellors, shadow chancellors and their assistants, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority should meet regularly to tackle the problems on a cross party basis.  Perhaps a professor or two from somewhere like the London School of Economics.  In other words, experts with valuable knowledge to share, working for the good of the country, not for the good of any particular political party.

The election on 6 May will be very interesting, although according to one newspaper, the party which gets in will have to make such severe cuts that they won't be electable again for a generation.  Whoever gets in is going to find it a thankless task.

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