Having not watched the first leaders debate last week (I have it recorded just have not gotten round to watching it yet) I was surprised by the second in the series. A few things jumped immediately to mind, it was too long, this could have been an hour comfortably and the last half hour dragged on. Secondly the set up was a little strange, I don't mind that the audience are not allowed to contribute except for asking questions as this tends to stop the party hacks populating the audience so that their guys can boo at the others, a tactic regularly employed by the SNP, however, the leaders were very cramped on the stage and I would have liked to have seen a little more attention and pushing for substance in the answers. I would also have liked to have seen a little more introduction and the Leaders being able to answer the question instead of the moderator summing up what the questions actually were as he then changed it into a sound-bite format for the ticker writer.
There were a few different issues discussed that David Cameron misled people on and I thought that I would point out a couple here. How can he claim that he has a new team when the people the Conservatives put on the TV for the pre debate hype were Malcolm Rifkind and Ken Clarke? Old policies coming through and old heads pulling relatively young strings. Further to this the election leaflets that Mr. Cameron is so synthetically angry about were based on a election promise that the Conservatives refused to make until last night when Mr. Cameron decided to make up the policy on the hoof.
Most importantly for me is the question of defence and Europe, there are a number of really important things that Cameron and EVERY Conservative candidate needs to answer....
1. Do you agree with the political ties that the Conservatives have in the European parliament.
2. Moving to immigration, if -as the Conservatives have advised on many previous occasions have admitted that they would- we moved out of Europe how would the Conservatives immigration policy work? They seem to be tied to the EU for this?
3. Do you agree with the Conservative candidate in Scotland lying to the public about local business leaders being against the NI raise and using their names without authorisation on the election leaflets? If not what action will you take against them?
Again Nick Clegg has misled people on many occasions now and seems not to know basic history of the political system in the UK. The Liberals as a party are much older than the Labour party so when he talks about the two old parties he is really referring to his own and the Tory's. He 'forgot' to mention his ties to big business and his lobbying jobs ad doesn't seem to want to answer the questions asked of him re funding, which rings alarm bells, I am sure there was no wrong doing but why not publish the details now rather than later?
Questions for Clegg and EVERY Liberal candidate
1. Religion and politics how do you feel about a Liberal candidate describing themselves in a Catholic newspaper as 'the closest thing to a pro life candidate' in an election? (Eileen McCartlin in the last election Scottish Catholic Observer)
2. What will you replace Trident with and when would that decision be made?
From this mornings press conference Gordon Brown is right it is not a game show it is an election and all voters should be taking their vote seriously, today is a more important moment the recovery is under way and this campaign has already made clear that the Tories are a risk to the recovery. Voters should not be expected to put their cross against a question mark and the questions regarding their policies are growing day by day. We need to ensure that we are not making the mistakes of the 1980's and 90's. We need to make sure that we are talking up Britain and that we are showing the positive side of the Labour Policies that we have, but it would be irresponsible NOT to point out the flaws and dangers in the other parties policies, ask yourself this if we don't who will?
On a personal note I used to live downstairs from a real live suffragette, someone ho was denied the vote simply based on her sex, someone who struggled to ensure that we lived in a fairer and safer society and someone who inspired me to join the Labour Party and remember that as a party we know we are better together than we are apart and we know that we are moving towards a fairer, stronger and safer society.
Vote Labour on May 6th