Well, we've had our first TV election debate and I can't say I'm too impressed. Whilst the media is widely reporting Nick Clegg (Lib Dems) won the first round, I don't think anyone really shone through and came out a winner.
I didn't watch/listen to the whole thing. I only listened to the first hour and wasn't really hooked to watch/listen to the rest. From what I did hear, I'm not really surprised Nick Clegg is reported to have came out on top: Gordon Brown and David Cameron obviously didn't think he was much of a contender so spent most of the time taking pops at each other and each other's policies, past and proposed. Nick Clegg really had nothing to lose and seemed to do a good job of distancing his party from the other two, despite Gordon Brown's attempts to draw comparisons between Labour and the Lib Dems, and took his turn at taking pops at both of them without fear of getting much thrown back at him.
What was clear from the debate was that each candidate had been well trained and prepared with both Gordon Brown and David Cameron prepped to push their main policies on tax, spending cuts and the economy into the answers of most questions, despite the fact this (the economy) is one of the topics for the 3rd debate. Unfortunately, I think this came at the expense of actually answering some of the questions satisfactorily. Nick Clegg seemed a little scarce on the policy details and I suspect now he's got himself noticed, the Lib Dems' policies are in for a lot more scrutiny over the next few days, and he's in for a lot more training. All three came prepared with their list of barbs too.
Of course, all this TV appearance and debating is great for politics and who knows, we may see a turn around in the numbers of people voting, however a lot of the less informed voters will be very disappointed to find that none of the big three names are on their voting form and will vote how they were going to vote had the debates not been run. The UK uses the first past the post system (I'm not a big fan of this method) which means only 3 of the 650 constituencies in the UK will actually any one of the big three names.
I'm not going to rule out the debates just yet and will at least listen to the start of the next one to see how the politicians change their methodology following the experience of the first debate.