So, who came out on top in the great general election debate last night, Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson?

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Last night the leaders of the two biggest UK political parties faced each other in a much awaited general election ITV debate.

And this morning the most important question that everyone wants answered is …. who won?

But what does that mean?

Now, I watched the debate and I think that anyone who's been following UK politics could have easily predicted the questions asked as well script the answers that the protagonists gave on the night.

Did we learn anything new from either of them? Probably not.

It seems that repetition is the politician's favoured tool in the box.

Now the pollster YouGov came out with a snap poll straight after the debate that had it down as a Boris Johnson win over Jeremy Corbyn, by a whisker, at 51% to 49%.

And adding in to this mix were all sorts of metrics about who looked the most Prime Ministerial, or came across as the most likeable, or the most trustworthy, or the most in-touch with ordinary people.

But the one metric that chimed with me, was when the poll respondents were asked to pick three words from a list that for them encapsulated the event.

And 58% chose the word 'Frustrating'.

45% said 'Interesting'.

And 35% said 'Engaging'.

But I'm with the frustrated 58%.

And mainly because as far as I could see, the winner of the evening was neither of the two contenders for Number Ten, no it was the adjudicator, Julie Etchingham, who did a great job of sticking to the format and timings – so stifling the debate, because neither Johnson nor Corbyn ever had time to really get in to their stride and either develop their argument, or have enough rope to hoist themselves for all to see.

But the true measure of such a debate is surely how many minds were changed from Blue to Red or from Red to Blue? Or even maybe to another party.

And, having watched the debate, I would hazard a guess that the number of changed minds across the country as a direct result of last night's debate, would be in the realms of low single digit percentages – very low, if that.

And isn't the purpose of these public debates to allow politicians to properly make their case in a manner that could really get people thinking and potentially altering their views?

Or are we just expecting a glorified TV game show hoping one of them will make a monumental gaffe? Or like a football match where you turn up to support your own team however they perform.

And it seems to me that these debates are geared up for the latter, not the former.

Because as soon as one side gets going and it doesn't look like they'll mess up, in steps the presenter to get on to the next potential blooper causing topic.

And the result of this is that, with so little time available, the safe and short sound-bites keep getting trotted out by the participants.

And the BBC summed it up as follows:

"A lot of huffing and puffing. A lot of over eager attempts to land and repeat their stock lines.

"But the first head-to-head clash between the two men who could be the next prime minister did not transform the landscape of this election."

But the ITV debate wasn't the only game in town yesterday evening.

Because the real stand-out leader's performance, across the board, came from The Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, on the BBC Question Time Leaders Special last night.

He spoke with a conviction and clarity of vision that is sorely missing amongst other leaders who are too concerned with currying universal likes, rather than telling people what they really think and being prepared to stand by their beliefs and strongly argue their case.

So, for me, last night was Farage's night.

Sources:

https://www.theweek.co.uk/104430/general-election-2019-who-won-the-tv-debate

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/11/19/who-won-itv-general-election-debate

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50482868

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