Look, it comes down to this: do you want five more years of Gordon Brown or not?
If you do, I’m not going to go all Tea Party on you. Brown is not a closet Communist and I have no reason to believe that he is the anti-Christ, although his name is “Gord” which is “God” plus “r,” with “r” standing for “Really Evil” (or so says the spam email I keep getting from Auntie Maud). I may not like them, but “New Labour” does not spell “Apocalypse” when rendered in Arabic.
I watched the debate — the first ever of its kind in the UK — and feel monumentally depressed this morning. With all the sophistication of an X-factor audience, the poll consensus is that LibDem leader Nick Clegg far outperformed Gord and Dave. He was good if by “good” we mean he looked into the camera, seemed relaxed, and kept saying how the Liberals (founded 1839) were not like the big, bad older parties (including Labour, founded 1895). Again, he seems like a reasonable bloke, and a LibDem in government will not precipitate my emigration to Canada, but honestly Britain, are you so emotionally lazy?
Cameron was fine and had clearly decided to remain above the fray. My initial thought was that he had blown it, having been out-Blaired by Clegg, but there’s a chance the electorate will warm to this more Prime Ministerial air. Dave wasn’t the confident, aggressive Dave of PMQs, something which took me by surprise.
Gordon was weak. Bad one-liners, forced smiles, dull lists of New Labour achievements. But here’s the thing, folks: note his “I agree with Nick” pitch. He knows he can’t win so he’s stoking the LibDem vote hoping a hung parliament will bring a Lib-Lab coalition. It’s his only hope and it’s a good strategy.
Ganging up on Cameron, Brown and Clegg made it clear that the choice in this election is between centre-left and centre-right. There aren’t three parties, there are two (despite Clegg’s protestations): Lib-Lab and Tory. If you like Gordon, vote Lib-Lab. If you don’t, don’t.
I don’t and I won’t.
That’s the choice — don’t let these debates fool you. It’s Gordon or Dave, not Dave or Nick.