What a pity that most MSM pundits have abandoned their role as independent commentators to back their man or make excuses for him. The commentariat is still transfixed by the positives of the debates. But the big negative of this format of 72 conditions cooked up by the parties is the glaring absence of expert and lay cross examination that’s lies at the heart of routine Question Times. Audience pressure would have blown apart the leaders’ conspiracy of silence over cuts or at least would have embarrassed them greatly. This was the biggest stich up since MPs’ voted against disclosing their expenses. The broadcasters mustn’t allows the parties to get away with it next time. The people must have their proper say.
I can’t find a single lateral thought, and I remember only one single bite. Brown sticks in the mind for all the wrong reasons, slotting into the classic loser’s role: looking shattered, going negative, left out of key arguments, failing to live up to his quite impressive opening pitch: ” I don’t get everything right but I know how to run the economy.”
Like an overkeen school debater, Clegg overegged his pudding. Cameron was utterly, deadeningly predictable but got his points out smoothly. After the snap polls, little trace of his performance will linger. Whatever some people are saying, the debate may not clinch it. History shows that the last week of campaigns counts for a lot. For Brown, this begins with a one- to- one with Paxman tonight. In desperation, can he throw his crippling caution to the winds and find the self confidence to tell the truth?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London