Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dashing Dave, Great Gordon, Naff Nick

"Get real Nick," blasted Brown and for once Cameron agreed. A week is a long time in politics and what a difference a week makes. Naff Nick's nag stumbled and fumbled along, Great Gordon had been taken out of the knackers yard for a final spirited sprint and Dashing Dave took it all in his stride.

Bumbling his way through the second TV 'leaders' debate, Clegg made a mockery of the debate title, managed to make Gordon look good and make Dave's day.

But the old tuckers were working the crowds in a crowded spin room trying to brow beat the media munchkins to big it up for their man.

Voters, viewers? The debate was on Sky, so viewers would have to miss Corrie to watch it all. Much wlll depend on the reams of reaction which is bound to be spewed out as reports on the debate on the debate rumble on from a Big Media which has already made up its mind.

The Orange Party was watching a different debate from last week but a debate which still saw three Westminster parties slog it out in what appeared at times like a cosy stitch-up.

The clash was supposed to focus on foreign affairs but the major battlegrounds of Afghanistan, Trident and Europe were brushed under the carpet and given only a scant outing as the Celtic nationalists and single issue parties were left out in the cold.

Ex-eurocrat Clegg predictably backed the EU superstate. All three backed keeping troops fighting a hopeless Afghan war. Scrap Trident? Er, nope. Not even Nick.

But gone was the Mandy manipulated Gordon "I agree with Nick" slapstick comedy routine and in came a revitalised Labour tribalist telling that 'Liberal' Clegg to get real. Dave's agreement brought a laugh from the audience, now aired in this second debate. Brown was on a roll and lovin' it.

Dave was comfortable at home with foreign affairs in a foreign office sort of way. Defence of the realm, the national interest comes first - the rest is the way of the world. Back home on the playing fields of Eton, sounding and looking every inch the statesman.

Foreign affairs was never Gordon's strong point - more used to being stuck at home in the kitchen cooking the books. But managing to sound convincing resorting to well-rehearsed rhetoric trotted out from a script.

An 'off the cuff' pre-planned put down line to the two other "bickering" party 'leaders' read out from a pre-written script stuck out like a sore thumb.

Clegg and his novelty act always had a lot to live up to with all the Cleggmania and media hype but then so did Dave in the first round. The difference is what marks out a leader and Clegg fell flat on his face.

The knives were out for Clegg with his dodgy dealings and shameless past splashed across the tabloids and the Telegraph. But a question from Sky's Adam Boulton aimed to put the party leader on the spot was dealt with poorly by Clegg with an arrogant slap down, exposing the off-hand manner of a smug two-bit politician.

Cutaways and reaction shots from the audience meant to liven up the second debate became a dangerous toy to be played with in the gallery. A cutaway to a sweet young thing smiling sweetly and nodding at Clegg reeked of biased editing.

Lessons had been learnt. Clegg tried to sound tough on immigration but fell at the first fence over an amnesty. Round one saw Clegg put himself up as Mr Clean. It was left to Dave to deliver the put down - no-one should be put themselves on a pedestal, not least Clegg.

The stakes had been high. The little fish in a big pond had been bigged up to take the heat off dismal Brown's first debate disaster. The question now is would voters trust Clegg to call the shots holding the balance of power? Is this unknown who has shot to stardom really prime ministerial material?

Overall, the limp LibDem leader turned in a lacklustre performance putting the brakes on the Clegg bandwagon. Tired Brown came alive at times and can expect to turn into Bouncy Brown. Calm Cameron turned in the kind of prime ministerial performance that could begin to turn things round for him. All in a tabloid sort of way.

But then the winners and losers of the second debate were always going to be fought over on the broadcast news bulletins and above the fold on newspaper front pages - not from voters watching the TV talent show.

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