First thoughts - the Leaders have a lot to live up to. The debate was orderly (and well chaired) and all got their chance to have their say.
There was no knock out blow, but I still think that Vince Cable came out best. I would say that, wouldn't I. But the online vote at both the Guardian and C4 agrees with me and the tweetminster sentiment scores say the same thing. So does Gary Gibbons of Channel 4 News. And Andrew Sparrow of the Guardian (80 for Cable, 69 for Darling and 60 for Osborne) And the Mumsnet readers. And FT Leader writer Chris Cook. And Peter Hoskin at the Spectator's Coffee House blog. And the New Statesman.
In fact, I can't find a single blog or website that isn't a paid up supporter of one party or another that hasn't called it for Vince.#govince !
This post is coming an hour after the debate ended as I am following the Mathew Parris idea of going away and thinking of something very different before I make it (in my case, by watching Glee first)
What do I remember of the debate?
- Thinking that Vince was authoritative and applauded (six times, I am told)
- That Darling was very, very boring but adequate
- That Osborne looked shifty (has he had his hair dyed?) and creepy at one point (leering at the young woman who asked about jobs)
What lines or message stood out?
Vince talking about the bankers as pinstriped Scargills was the soundbite of the event.
Closely followed by Vince saying that he had predicted the banking crisis.
Osborne saying, in answer to the question on experience, that he had watched a lot of people doing difficult jobs.
So what was wrong with Vince's performance? (trying to look at things objectively-ish)?
He never really had the chance to use many of his debating skills because the other two wouldn't debate with him. The number of times Darling and Osborne agreed with what he said is testament to his sagacity of course. But it was also effective in cutting him out of part of the debate. It's very difficult to push against an open door.
As a final treat - here's Vince's closing statement.