Last night I watched David Cameron, Gordon Brown, and Nick Clegg fight it out live on air. It was really very interesting, made all the more so by watching it with my uncle T, and A (A was driving me to Birmingham, we’d arrived in Birmingham just in time for the debates, he stuck around, we had a lovely evening).
Also there was fruit and nut mix in the larder so I put out a bowlful of it and my uncle picked out most of the nuts and ate them. Never mind.
I came away feeling that David Cameron looked like the weakest of the three, very obviously on the defensive and really not doing to well at that; his policies didn’t seem particularly strong to me, and, well, to be fair, I was never going to be that keen. Gordon Brown really warmed up in the course of the debates, smiling and confident and to be honest he was the one putting David Cameron on the defensive. He’s obviously a very bright and conscientious man in a way that didn’t ring true in the other two candidates. I have to say I really like him, and seeing him live in action I like him even more now, just as a person. Whether that’ll convince me to vote for him or not I don’t know, because I didn’t agree with him on all points and in many ways all three parties said very much the same things as one another. Nick Clegg meanwhile seemed to keep repeating himself – his argument at the start of every question seemed to be along the lines of ‘we’ve had a Conservative or a Labour government for 65 years and they keep screwing up and now it’s time for a change’. He did start to sound like a stuck record and although it was a good point, perhaps, he didn’t seem to have many other good points up his sleeve, at least not memorised and pulled out in front of us last night as he should have done. And I don’t feel that it’s a good idea to get rid of Trident – yes, I know it’s sodding expensive, £100bn over the next however many years or whatever the figure was, but as my uncle pointed out that Aneurin Bevan (I think?) once famously said, ‘it’s like going into a conference room…naked’. If we do not have nuclear weapons we are more at risk from more volatile countries and more volatile leaderships who do have them, or who manage to acquire them, and yes, having them means that we need to be prepared to use them, and I really don’t know how I feel about that, but I guess I feel that I hope that by having that nuclear deterrent we will hopefully never have to find out whether we would use it or not.
The other interesting point (although they repeated this time and time again on Newsnight and in the News at 10 afterwards) was that Brown and Cameron kept saying how much they agreed with Nick Clegg on this, that and the other. Were they buttering him up, or buttering us up? I suppose with so many people actively wanting a hung parliament it’s a fair shout. I was also surprised that in the analysis Clegg seemed to come out on top, most popular, most well-argued, and I don’t really feel that he was. We’ll see, I guess.