The Clegg Factor

Tonight’s election debate was certainly an interesting experience. As a piece of live TV I found it pretty sterile, clearly hampered by the terms and conditions. I found the lack of audience reaction most disturbing, although I do concede it helped not to distract viewers from what the three party leaders were saying.

The pre-debate chat at work today centred on the expectation that Clegg would nick it in the post-debate polls, which he did. Personally I found him the most unnatural of the three.

For me his performance was just that – a performance. His attempt to demonstrate what a good listener he is by thanking each questioner by name at the end wasted valuable wrap-up time and felt horribly contrived.

To demonstrate how shallow I really am, here are my personal highlights:

  • Half way through my 15 year old daughter announced that you couldn’t possible vote for Gordon Brown because he looks like Mr Potato Head (from Toy Story). I think it must be something to do with the ears. Nice one Jessica – nice to see you focusing on the big issues. I wonder where she gets that from….
  • At the very end of the programme, Brown broke the rules by jumping off stage clearly before he was supposed to. Cameron pulled Clegg back when he tried to follow him and they both stood there looking very uncomfortable and increasingly desperate as Brown began shaking hands with the front row of the audience. Alistair Stewart then signalled to them that they could leave the stage, at which point they then also piled into the audience. Comedy gold!
  • As Alistair Stewart closed the programme there was an old geezer in the audience gurning (unintentionally I’m sure). The girls noticed it and we then re-played several times and the more you watch it the funnier it gets. If I can find it on YouTube I’ll be sure to put the link in here. It was brilliant.

What will be very interesting is how Brown and Cameron adjust their approach in round two as they both seek to overcome the Clegg factor. Can’t wait!

BTW, this post was originally a comment on Rachel Allen’s blog, but the site kept crashing when I tried to submit it. Sorry Rachel!