In just a few short hours Nick Clegg has catapulted his Liberal Democrat party from the dark stalls of the also-rans right into the limelight of pole position.

The recent political leaders’ debate last Thursday allowed Nick Clegg to by-pass months of canvassing and the scrutiny of his party’s policies and manifesto. He grasped the opportunity that this ‘presidential’ style forum gave him and ran with it.

This has left both Labour and Conservative leaders gasping and wheezing in his wake as he breezes towards a famous general election result. Except that the final pages of the book have yet to be turned on this story.

Far from having everything to gain, Clegg will now find himself the centre of attention at the next one, if not two, debates with everything to lose.

He managed a quick sprint to get in to the lead but the finishing line is still a long way away.

Even with a significant lead in the latest polls the experts say this will still only give the LibDems a very strong power broker position, but not the reins of power themselves.

After being hailed as a great step in the progress of democracy, all the televised debate has done is expose the real shallowness of the system. That people do not vote for their local representatives, they vote for the party leaders. How can people possibly believe that a vote for one of these leaders will mean a better local representation for them, the voters? Local party MPs are not clones of the leaders, they are party lackeys. They will, in the end, vote in the interests of the party because that is where they derive their power from. Not from the voters.

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