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Clegg or Dead April 19, 2010

Posted by Audit Monkey in The State of the British Nation.
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So, yet another delayed post from Audit Monkey. No excuse really but three consecutive evening of banter and beer may be partly to blame.

Anyway, last Thursday (16 April 2010) saw the first televised debate between an incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the two Opposition leaders, David Cameron (Conservative) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat). Ninety minutes of debate and the victor, by common consent, was Nick Clegg. There has been comprehensive Press analysis as to why, so I thought I might as well add my 2 cents.

First, I must confess I didn’t pay full attention to the debate as there were some immediate turn offs. As soon as Gordon Brown came out with the bilge about maintaining public spending to protect our “hospitals, schools and the police”, I began to lose immediate interest as the same old mantra was being used as justification for excessive public spending. The Labour Party seems to think that the public sector is the be all and end all of politics, a view which I don’t share.

I wasn’t particularly keen on Gordon Brown’s attack on hereditary peers in the Lords either as it wasn’t credible. Labour has hesitated with full reform of the Lords is it would beg questions about other weaknesses in the Constitution, e.g. lack of checks and balances on the Executive, and the need for Constitutional reform. Slightly ironic as Gordon Brown is an ‘unelected’ Prime Minister.

David Cameron didn’t fare much better either. The mantra about increased employers National Insurance contributions damaging job creation was trotted out again but this appeared to be only economic policy the Conservatives had to offer. Yes, I’m aware Dave wishes to save a few billion by eliminating waste in the Public Sector and cutting MP’s salaries. The problem is we’ve heard the one about Public Sector efficiencies so many times before, I’m sceptical and no doubt. so is the rest of the electorate, that it will happen should the Conservatives be elected.

So where does this leave us? Step forward Mr.Clegg. It was evident beforehand that the smaller parties can capitalise in a television debate a la Ross Perot and Nick Clegg played his hand well. He used simple language to convey the need for change, e.g. “that the two old parties with been playing pass the parcel with government for ages”. But more importantly, he wasn’t afraid to suggest workable policies for thorny issues such as immigration, (i.e. an amnesty for immigrants to determine who is actually here then managing the problem), rather than reverting to the vagueness espoused the two main parties. He also unafraid to tackle more unpalatable decisions such as scraping Trident which goes someway to reassess Britain’s role in the world.

While I don’t necessarily agree with some of Mr.Clegg’s policies, he demonstrated to me that he had actually thought about the issues in question and offered tangible solutions whereas the other main parties seem to offer small, incremental but ineffectual policy changes. No doubt other voters felt the same.

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