Fighting to a Stalemate?

Who needs Paxman when the BBC audience can maul our politicians for us? For the 4m people who tuned into #BBCQT last night they were able to witness some pretty aggressive questioning and all 3 leaders took a bit of a hiding.

It turns out that the rather aggressive woman who attacked Milliband had lied to the BBC that she was ‘undecided’ and was in fact a Tory stooge. But the main point from this episode has been the fact that the safety first election campaign came alive a little as the audience got to come back at the politicians.. so sterile evasive answers which dissatisfied the audience were challenged.

As I have posted previously this campaign has become increasingly stale as the fear of car crash interventions from the public make the leaders look bad. I am not so sure. If we allowed more evenings like last night we would get used to our leaders having to answer questions in a way they don’t want to. The agreed lines and formula are clearly seen through by the electorate so why do we think if we keep repeating them they will somehow work eventually?

The TV debates do mean the following day is somewhat distracted by the exit polls of ‘who won’ the debate, how many voters it has shifted. It seems from last night that Cameron & Miliband were about even and Clegg once again held himself quite well. This format works for him. But remember only 4m tuned in and the rest of us relied on social media and the tv, radio and print media today to report on what happened. Of course as we know the media has its own bias and bit by bit they are making their formal ‘endorsements’

We saw the rather bizarre sight of the Sun backing both the Tories and SNP yesterday. Now we have had the Economist, FT and Guardian coming out for their favoured parties (coalition for FT?Economist and Labour for the Guardian).

We have always known the political bias of the Murdoch press and the awful Daily Mail and Express. We also know what the Torygraph will do every time. But whilst I have distaste for much of our journalism there have always been notable exceptions! In this election though the Telegraph has become as comedic as the Mail in its journalism. It is sad that what purports to be a serious paper has stooped so low.

So after the Spin Room last night the rest of the world has now moved onto the serious business of working out what form of government we might have this time next week and what this means for the way Parliament operates.

Once again I recommend the website for the various permutations. It still looks like an anti Tory majority will block a 2nd Cameron premiership. However as the latest Lord Ashcroft polls from the marginals shows it looks as though Labour will take quite a few of its Target seats, but many will be off-set by losses in Scotland. It does leave a progressive alliance the most likely outcome, but Miliband has had to back himself into a corner ruling out a formal or informal alliance with the SNP.

I have tweeted some good links today to a Fabian paper on how minority governments have managed to cope in NZ.

There are various ways a broad progressive alliance could work but I warn all MPs this is going to be a draining Parliament. All votes will be crucial. No dominance of Bill Committees, Standing Committees, Select Committees Delegated Legislation and the Lords can wreak havoc. There will be more analysis of the permutations over the coming weeks as poll after poll shows we are heading to a hung parliament. There is still a week to go and many of the undecided voters could drift in a particular direction but no party has created any overwhelming momentum yet. Postal votes have been cast and a few thousand people in those marginal seats are going to decide the outcome.

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