Gordon’s people had negotiated his position to the right of Cameron, so that he appeared to be leaning over to look at the others rather than squinting at his notes. The embalmers had been hard at work on his appearance, he was a credit to them, he looked virtually alive – if only his forehead had moved occasionally he might have got away with it. Someone had remembered to turn off the mechanism that operates the weird grin for once, but the tongue still lay slack on his bottom lip, bulging forward slightly, modelled on one they found in a jar in the basement of the old hospital for the incurables.
Clegg had been stoked up specially for the occasion, well stocked with criticisms based on the incontrovertible fact that nothing had been his fault for 65 years. A lovely position to be in, no hint of failure attached to him, no chance of having to put any of his sound bites into practice. His excitement at being out with the big boys was tangible, his hand in his pocket, stroking his gonads, he could barely contain himself, and continuously referred to himself as an MP – this must be news to the Queen, she thought she had dissolved parliament, and currently had no MPs.
Cameron looked positively miserable, opposed to investment, he could only wince as Brown was able to talk about Tory cuts, which will inevitably be the same shape and size as Labour cuts – unless the country is to slide down the Greecey slope to IMF embarrassment.
The only bright spot for me was Alistair Stewart, who did a fair impersonation of Betty Boothroyd, and interrupted the monologues, reminded them to get on with it, answer some of the questions, and kept them in pretty good order. Definitely my winner. If only we had a Speaker who had Betty’s balls – I have been bored out of my skull for the past year watching PMQ’s with the childish taunts and jeers drowning out answers, the time wasting and prevarication. Perhaps we should ban MPs from the chamber during PMQ’s, give Alistair the wig and black stockings, and invite members of the public to read out questions to the PM.
The inevitable question about immigration saw Gordon roll out his stock ‘net migration’ answer – and neither of the other two had the wit to point out that this was partly because emigration was on the up as people fled out of the UK in despair. Instead we had Gordon pledging that henceforth Indian and Chinese restaurants would not be allowed to have Indian or Chinese chefs unless they held EU citizenship…..
In similar fashion, Gordon’s claim that the economy was the public sector was allowed to go unchallenged. Cameron’s pledged abolishment of the £6 billion ‘jobs tax’ was still described as removing £6 billion ‘from the economy’ – no one batted an eyelid. Oh, they trotted out the business men who agreed with Cameron, but no one took him to task for his view that there was no economy other than his beloved public sector.
This morning the consensus seems to be that ‘Clegg won’ – perhaps he did win the debate, he was more personable, he had Obama’s trick of insisting on making eye contact and naming his questioners, it made them feel important. He had nothing to lose, had played a miniscule part in the debacle that is the UK today, all he had to do was attack the other two and play to the gallery.
The debate was not the election. We shall see.