Friday, April 16, 2010

Democracy in the UK :: Party Leader Debates & Likelihood of a Hung Parliament

The first of three debates was held last night and the consensus is that Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg won the three-way discussion that included Conservative leader David Cameron and Labour leader and PM Gordon Brown. The US-style debate was held in Manchester with the theme of domestic policy. Here in Canada, the debates were on CPAC and on VOD here. Here's a clip from ITV. I love the intro. It's like the intro to a gameshow...Who Wants to be PM?::

It should be noted that the YouGov poll cited in the newsclip was only of people who saw the debate. The ratings were quite good with 9.2M viewers and a 37 share, beating Coronation Street and EastEnders.

My take on the debates was that PM Gordon Brown has the most to lose with Labour's recent showing in the polls and his often scholarly rhetorical delivery. The stakes for Cameron were high, as a knockout performance could give the Tories an edge in getting a majority. A strong showing by Clegg could siphon off votes from Labour and the Conservatives, making the Liberal Democrats a kingmaker. The strong showing by Clegg is adding momentum towards a hung Parliament::
"Psephologists say that if there is a boost to the Liberal Democrats from Mr Clegg’s strong showing, and if – as polls indicate – extra votes for them come from the Tories, the chances of a hung parliament are strengthened yet further."
If there has to be a loser, I think Cameron get's the shaft on this. Brown was surprisingly relaxed and Cameron didn't have his characteristic zing. Clegg's showing as an alternative is giving undecideds a viable choice and capitalizing on a desire for change. The uncertainty of the increased probability of a hung Parliament caused the pound sterling to fall.

The next debates are on the 22nd. and 29th. The election is on 6 May.

Twitterversion:: Lib Dems make strong showing in UK leaders' debates on domestic policy. Hung Parliament increasingly likely. @Prof_K

Song:: Sex Pistols-'Anarchy in the UK'

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