I am afraid I had to confess on twitter last night that when it came to 9pm I had enough of the TV debate and switched over to watch #Theisland – a reality TV programme for heavens sake!
For me the whole programme was a little surreal without Cameron & Clegg present. I can see the tactical gamble Cameron & the Tories took not to appear in these debates but I am still not convinced it is working for them. At worse Cameron might have lost his temper (as he is prone to do) or slipped up on a particular point. But much as I dislike him, not being able to speak in complete sentences is not one of his weaknesses. It was interesting that the biggest cheer I heard was when they attacked his lack of presence.
This then meant the evening turned into a ‘we are more left wing and can spend more than you Ed’ politics, which wasn’t very edifying. The polls showed Ed and Sturgeon coming out top again and I would concur with that. Ed looked assured and Sturgeon is impressive in these debates. It is strange because it was Farage who kicked up the fuss about being on these debates yet he was pretty poor. It was particularly bizarre when he picked a fight with the entire audience by telling them they were all too left wing and BBC plants! From limited experience I can tell you it’s not a good idea to attack an audience – especially when they are voters too.
What also stuck me yesterday was the polling from London that was released showing a massive lead for Labour in the capital city. At the same time it is increasingly obvious Labour is going to lose seats to the SNP in Scotland and make medium gains in the rest of England. I am not 100% sure I have seen much Welsh polling.
This has serious consequences. There isn’t a political party that can now claim to speak for the UK as they once did. The Tories in Scotland had a presence not that long ago but are now virtually wiped out. In vast parts of the urban north there are Tory free cities. In the South Labour still struggles to gain many seats outside of London. Whilst this is interesting for those of us looking at polls and seats it has deeper consequences for the future of the UK. We are dividing along political, social and economic lines. It may be that our 1997 Labour government was the last time we were largely able to unite large parts of the country behind a single party. Having said this I am heartened by the possibility of there being a continued anti Tory bias in Parliament. The Tories have failed to win an election since 1992 and we almost forget this because the Lib Dems have just given us a Tory PM. It seems unlikely they will win again in 2015 so let’s make sure we are not subjected to the narrow political dogma that has been rejected by an electorate that still has them on just 33% of the vote. For all parties in our ne multi party system are the days of 40%+ election results for one party over?