I was ging to write about the main issues of the day and about what is happening in Loughborough – a highly marginal seat again in Leiecstershire, but what little coverage I have seen has been about the Leaders Debate.
The build up seems very familiar to me – after all I follow sport like made and the tone and excitement being generated on the little radio & TV I have seen makes it feel like the local derby – or an England v Wales international rugby game later!
I was not a big fan of the concept of the Leaders debates in 2010, as we don’t live in a presidential system. We elect 650 MPs who then decide the Leader! However, once they happened in 2010 and 20 million people tuned in to watch everybody ‘agree with Nick’ they were surely here to stay.
I particularly hated the Clegg phenomenom as I think it all but cost me the seat of Loughborough. We had been hopeful to squeeze the Lib Dem vote which we wanted to see reduced in Loughborough back the normal 5000 or so. Our squeeze message was good and people were responding by realising they needed to vote Labour to keep the Tories out. But we saw a late surge to the Lib Dems – especially by the students who liked their ‘Promise’ to scrap tuition fees. They got their 9000 votes – 4000 more than we anticipated and we lost by 3500.
The battle over whether the debates hsould happend and Cameron running scared has turned this evening into a bit of a farce with 7 Party leaders on a set of 15-1!
I am not sure it will add as much as a proper 2-3-4 way debate but I guess it is better than nothing and with all the hype has generated more interest than all the fake photo opps generated since the launch of the campaigns. My main concern in this digitally distracted age is that people won’t actually sit through the event but will wait for the sound bites from news summaries or what their friends and commentatrors say on twitter. The news room spin doctors have to work overtime and with a level of immediacy never seen before. We know twitter can change a mood in seconds.
Strangely, despite being a political junkie I am not going to watch this live. We have dinner guests. Like the normal person I have become even a political event like this takes second place to friends coming round!
However, I will try to summarise what I have heard, seen and what impact it will have in the marginals.