According to a poll in The Sunday Times, Clegg is now the most popular leader since Winston Churchill. Is it just me or where did that come from?! If recent polls are anything to go by, the election is hotting up to be a genuine three way contest and the Liberal Democrats are seeing their strongest support in 30 years. This is unprecedented in post-war British history – never mind in my history!
Clegg quickly emerged as the clear victor of Thursday’s Leader Debate on ITV last Thursday but in all honesty, I think I must have been missing something because I just didn’t see it myself. Frankly, Clegg staring down the camera at me made me feel uneasy in my own home and certainly not connected *shudder* As for Brown, I wasn’t keen on his bullyish digs at Cameron or his attempts to cosy up to Clegg. And I’m surprised that Cameron didn’t make any real comeback at Brown’s jibes – he lacked his usual warmth and fire in my eyes. At the end of the day, I do think that the debates are a good thing and anything that may sway people who maybe wouldn’t usually bother to vote (and I would not be counted as one of those I must add) is definitely a good thing. But the debates alone aren’t enough to make my mind up. Just as the leaders’ wives’ pretty dresses or pregnancy news won’t sway my vote – winning smiles and good choice of ties on a televised debate just won’t cut it. But policy will.
The fact is, that many of the Liberal Democrats policies are, in my (very) humble opinion questionable to say the least. Let’s not forget that under their policies, we would join the Euro, their policies on tax just don’t add up and they think that Trident should be scrapped in favour of a cheaper system. So why would Brown be so keen to cosy up to Clegg when in fact their parties have conflicting policies? This just confirms my belief that a hung parliament would be the worst possible outcome of this election. I don’t personally believe that the Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power would be a good thing for our country. Whatever the outcome of the election, wouldn’t it be best for there to be an outright winner come May 6th? Cameron says ‘A hung parliament would be a bunch of politicians haggling, not deciding’ and I think he has a point.
I can’t help but wonder if the up-coming debates will have the same power as this first one to be able to swing public opinion again and this time next week, the polls will be telling a different story. Maybe Clegg’s surprise success at this first debate will mean that Brown and Cameron will come back fighting in the next programmes. In Cameron’s case especially, he seemed so reserved last week that I can’t help but think that he was using this first round as some sort of gage of what the public want to see in these televised debates – after all, they are unprecedented in British politics. Or perhaps they were taken by surprise by Clegg as the rest of us were! Either way, polling day in the fast and fickle world of politics is still a long way off and we are about to witness an unprecedented and very interesting three horse race for sure..