On the day that the latest opinion poll sees the Conservatives draw a little further ahead, we had the great wannabe Chancellors debate. ComRes now put the Tories on 37%, Labour on 30% and the LibDems on 20%, which would leave the Conservatives 31 seats short of an overall majority.
Last night's event was touted as a big debate so the country can make a judgment on its potential future chancellor. What really happened was we saw three people we have all got very used to seeing saying things about the economy that we've all heard before.
I would surmise that over 95% of people who watched the programme probably already take a keen interest in politics. Many others would have been watching the Newcastle United v. Nottingham Forest game on Sky – Newcastle won :). With the news and insight available 24 hours a day on the TV and internet those that take an interest could have pre-scripted the show except for the odd one-liners.
They are all agreed that the country is in its worst economic position for decades. They also all agree that getting out of it is going to be painful. They also all agree that cuts will have to come and that overall tax will have to rise. All the differences are in where exactly the cuts will fall, when and who the losers will be.
They also all agree that they're not going to come really clean on the level of the problem until after the general election. They especially will let on who the potential losers will really be.
When taking the economy as a whole, the proposals the three put forward are just tinkering at the edges. There are no grand plans for the future. There was nothing new, nothing radical. Just more of the same failed policies. Is this how we enter a 'Japanese style lost decade'?
Had you watched the show looking for a vote changing moment I think you would have been disappointed. But that was always going to be the case.
OK, Vince had a couple of moments and Alistair and George stuck to their guns. So, on an 'on-the-night' assessment maybe 34% to Vince and 33% each to the other two. But is this how Chancellors are chosen? No, a party or hung parliament parties get voted in and the leader with the most gets the job of PM. Then he/she selects the Cabinet. The public have no say. We assume too much.
As an informative exercise, that would depend on who watched it. As Entertainment, severely lacking. Next time Channel 4 need to introduce a loose cannon into the session to spice things up, the BNP applicant perhaps?