Leaders Debate

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.


Lunch time summary

It’s lunch already and I have hardly seen anything election related today. I have been a little busy working!
I did wake and scoured my twitter feed and by 8am I couldn’t quite see what the theme for the day was going to be.
It was good to see the Tory attack on Labour’s £3000 tax bombshell being reduced in their own words to ‘guesswork’. Equally there was a counter from the Tories from some of the business leaders used on the EU referendumn/ business poster with quotes suggesting they were unhappy and even some suggesting we should stick with the Tories. The infamous ‘Jennifers ear’campaign hiccup surely means whoever came up with this poster would have run a risk analysis? The reaction from business leaders quoted suggests not!
So early guesses – Tories running on jobs and Lib Dems on some more spending in the NHS. As one friend on facebook has asked – where is all this money now coming from when we are still told we have to cut the budget? I think all parties are going to have to be a little more honest about the future spending plans or the level of deficit they are willing to run. This seems to me the gaping hole in this campaign so far and with so many weeks to go more detail is going to have to be put in place!

End of the first Day

After a quiet start today the PM (unnecessarily) went to see the Queen to dissolve parliament to kick start this campaign officially.

Today I have been aware of the election only through Social Media and about 2 minutes of the BBC news. This will probably be my pattern through this election as I am like many people – pretty busy during the day and often out into the early evening. Today as well as ‘working’ all morning Inhave been doing family duties – including being a taxi for my daughter and meeting our son from a silver DofE weekend. So I catch snippets via social media on days like today. As a political junkie I follow plenty of politicians and political journalists so there is usually plenty to capture. To be fair during this election to help me with these blogs I have also started following The Tories and Lib Dems. I am struggling to follow UKIP, that is beyond my remit to blog here!

Only things of note today. The Tories tried the old Labour tax bombshell tactic again. As I tweeted this claim of a £3000 tax bombshell was rubbished by the IFS pretty quickly and Grant Shapps had to admit it was all ‘guesswork’. In one sense it works to the fears of people who already vote Tory and some floating voters. Appealing to people’s pockets is generally a god idea for the right sadly.

Labour did go on the economy and the risk the Tories european referendum has on business. Some quotes in the poster Labour used caused an artificial storm from some of the executives quoted who wanted to be non-political. As the quotes were public statements already it’s hard to see there was much of a story.

Later in the day we got an excited family as a friend texted my Daughter to watch the Tory PPB. She did and saw the 1.5 seconds her friend and family were in it… Always wondered how people agreed to do these things.

Finding this to show the family also meant I searched for the Labour PPB. I think having seen these I will do separate blogs as we go along when they warrant them. So far I have to say I was really unimpressed by the Tory one. Genuinely not just because it was the Tories. I was pleased to see Martin Freeman speak out for Labour in their PPB. He has gone up in my estimation.

I see the Lib Dems have gone for the centre ground again. Not sure people believe them anymore. It looks a bit silly now after 5 years propping up a right wing Tory government when all too often they used to pretend to be on the left of Labour in some parts of the country.

I had a good chat with the BBC today about rugby and the politics of sport in the general election. It looks like we might get something happening if the right Execs buy the idea. I have been a little consumed by the news coming from the RFU and ER2015 about the sacking of Debbie Jevans. More will come out during the week I am sure.

I did see the London polling for COMRES and ITV. It does seem as though London is a separate country sometimes and in election terms it is certainly turning to Labour again in large numbers. It Helped in 2010 to stem the losses and it shows even more how impressive the Boris wins have been.

I did get into a mini twitter debate about the possible Labour leadership battle post an election defeat for Labour. I don’t think I want to do that again this side of an election. I may dive into a debate for the Tories & Lib Dems to even things up a little as it is obvious any leader who loses in May is likely to be removed/ stand down. It looks as though only one leader will survive this election so lots at stake.

That Labour PPB