UK General Election 2010 #leadersdebate

Politics, like religion, is one of those tricky areas. An area where people can become quite heated as they defend their favoured political party; an area where people are quite often narrow-minded and biased because of their favouritism. I'd like to think when I come to politics I'm quite fair and impartial. This stems from reading International Relations at university - we were taught not to be biased, to reserve judgement, and to weigh up all sides before concluding.

But being an Anthropologist and having a Media background meant for me how they were presenting themselves would also be what I would be judging them on, rather than merely what they said. Presentation of self is so important, especially in the razzle dazzle age we live in. Plus, let's face it, what they said wasn't exactly nothing new.

The razzle dazzle thing got me thinking. Politicans expect us to have short-term memories, except when it comes to our so-called glory days and then they are perfectly happy to point us in the direction of their former successes. Brown trying to explain his importance in fixing the economy in his opening remarks wasn't exactly a selling point when:

Think before you speak, maybe? Some us do have memories, and Cameron got this immediately with his opening remarks:

See, Brown will always be in the weakest position when it comes to campaigning. Yes, he can point out Labour's successes, but whatever he claims he can do in the future, can always be countered with why hasn't he done it already.

It soon became apparent that the debate wasn't really a debate between Clegg, Cameron and Brown, and this is where Clegg's media training made him out-shine the other two:

Clegg consistently directed his answers to the question asker - plus mentioned their names in his closing remarks - and he stuck more to the question rather than going off on a political tangent like the other two. He personalised politics, which was a brilliant tactic humanising the Lib Dems. However, Cameron is good. He soon cottoned on to Clegg's game and followed suit:

Cameron showed his leadership skills from this mirroring, a skill Brown is lacking, despite being PM for nearly two years. Both Brown and Cameron side-tracked and were more concerned about scoring points off the other it seemed than doing an real debating/hard-selling. Cheap shots shone through for the Labour and Conservative party in this debate, which Clegg mostly stirred clear of.

Clegg did lose points for repetition though. Perhaps worried that no one knew who he was, he mentioned an extraordinary amount of times that he's the MP for Sheffield. His views on nuclear weapons and keeping the UK Trident programme was a little limited and, at times, he presented himself like a defiant schoolboy with his hands in his pockets. But, at least I have recalled he said this and what he did - Brown and Cameron sounded mostly like broken records throughout.

In fact, Brown reduced his closing remarks to popular culture, mentioning The X-Factor. You might be on ITV Brown, but this is politics. No wonder the country is in the state it is if you don't realise that politics shouldn't be fun, it isn't necessary to dumb down for your audience! We'd like you to be serious, please. As for Cameron, I expected more of a razzle dazzle finish with him as the last speaker. He had the perfect opportunity to undermine the other two by having the closing remark and he wasted it. Disappointing.

Based on the debate alone, the above is my conclusion. Perhaps because the focus tends to be on Brown and Cameron - and, indeed, I get the impression Brown and Cameron think it's a battle between themselves, though tonight might have alerted them to the fact it's not - I think it gave Clegg the chance to shine through. Sometimes waiting in the wings, so-to-speak, gives you the chance to figure out your opponents and tactically defeat them. Clegg showed that tonight, in my opinion.

Did you watch the debate? If so, what's your view on it?

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  1. How is thinking that spending £100billion on a weapon system designed for a bygone era limited? Things have moved on since then and the money is needed for other things like, schools, nurse etc...

  2. Future hegemonic stability, perhaps? France is scaling back their nuclear operations ... I think it's imperative that the US and China aren't the two main players when it comes to a nuclear arsenal. We committed into this and we are still considered a great power - we may be an island, but we certainly cannot be insular in the world.

    Also, it's not exactly a bygone era when there are countries outside of the NPT with nuclear capabilities ...