Unlike most of the nation I forced myself to sit down and watch the #Leadersdeabte on ITV last night. I only did so out of FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. I needn’t have bothered.
A number of factors led this to being a pretty awful affair whatever expectations you had of the evening. And I guess most people had pretty low expectations before switching on! Their expectations were met.
The format was awful. It never quite worked to allow either candidate to have to fully explain their positions. It was rushed and both candidates seemed nervous and almost unprepared for the format. They both seemed to try too hard to fit in their lines.
I saw that Yougov polling had the outcome from those who watched at 51/49 in Corbyn’s favour and that’s what I would have scored them! I am afraid this wasn’t a case of who was best but who was least worst.
As I tweeted throughout I was surprised at the way the audience just laughed at both candidates at various times. One of the most telling was the exchange on public spending. I get the impression nobody believes the fantasy figures being banded around by everybody as the campaign unfolds.
From a candidates point of view at least the debate showed what I have always believed about both – neither are actually very good. Talk to anybody who isn’t a loyal party member and you will get this impression within seconds. People generally see Johnson for the liar and charlatan that he is – but as he is a bit funnier and not like other politicians they factor that in. Corbyn has his own set of problems which I have outlined since the Labour leadership election in 2015!
I am afraid we have another 3 weeks of this. Most people have switched off already and unless the Manifesto launches this week ignite this campaign its going to be a hard slog.
What makes matters worse is there are massive fundamental issues facing the country at this election and the direction we go possibly for a generation. I genuinely fear a Tory majority government and what it will do to this country. This is not a One nation Tory party but a ‘Brexit party light’. Given any kind of mandate and their hard right instincts are already obvious. It’s not a country I want to live in.
As the debate showed yesterday Boris Johnson is not very popular, or even very good at this sort of campaigning. Both candidates for PM are mainly happy inside set up audiences talking to their own supporters. This should be an easy open goal for a decent and credible Labour opposition to win this election, but heading into an election called on the Tories terms with the most unpopular leader of the opposition since polling records began is not giving me much hope.
With three weeks to go ‘something’ unexpected can and possibly will happen. At the moment this is my only hope that the Tories can be beaten or at least denied the majority Johnson craves.
Roll on the Manifestos.