In the first of a regular series in the run-up to polling day, University of Huddersfield politics lecturer Dr Pete Woodcock takes a look at the week’s campaigning. This is Woodcock’s Week:
EXAMINER readers might have noticed me saying on Thursday how lucky Nick Clegg was just to be involved in the election debates.
Well, didn’t he make the most of his good fortune on Thursday night?
Most voters probably wouldn’t have recognised the Lib Dem leader before the debate, but he was certainly the big winner. He was the one who understood you have to give little soundbites which will be shown on the news over and over again in the following days.
As for Gordon Brown, what can I say? He didn’t disgrace himself.
The man who should be worried right now is David Cameron, because expectations of him were so high.
I thoroughly enjoyed the debate – even though I was desperately trying to be cynical about it. I have a problem with having leaders’ debates when we’re supposed to be electing local MPs to represent us in Parliament.
But, despite this, I thought the debate was great. It started slowly but it really kicked off after Gordon Brown cracked a joke about those Tory posters showing him smiling. I was astonished that Brown was the first one to crack a joke – I thought the heavens would open.
I thought the debate was brilliant entertainment and, given the viewing figures of 9.4m, it seems the viewing public agree with me.
Before the debate, we had the manifestos.
I think it’s honours even here. All the manifesto launches were nice media events, but they weren’t really about policy.
There’s this truism that ‘all politics is local’ but I’ve no idea what it means. This election is being fought on national issues which, to a certain extent, is only right, given that it’s a national election.
Overall the Lib Dems have been the winners this week. Gordon Brown will be quietly pleased with how things have gone so far – especially if you look at the trouble he was in 18 months ago.
David Cameron will be worried though, he’s not doing as well as he would have hoped.
All the parties have been cautious in the campaign so far. We haven’t had a Kinnock in Sheffield moment yet – but we live in hope.