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The truths they don't want you to read....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

LibDems - the new target

Clegg dominated and won the first Leaders debate, as a debater, and as a consequence the LibDems are now being targeted relentlessly by the other two parties just in case, perhaps, they managed to grab some of the votes.

Being the best or most successful debater first time doesn't make you the winner in a three stage race, it just gives clues (targets!) to your opponents for the later debates, and those who really control the process - Labour and the Tories - will simply close ranks and squeeze the outsider.

I've seen it too many times, and had it done to me on a number of occasions, to never mix up successful debating with voting success. They are two aspects of the same process, but they are not necessarily interlinked.

Nor, as some comments have suggested, should my admiration for debating ability be assumed to be an admiration for the party of the debater. IMHO, Margaret Thatcher was one of the most able and successful debaters of her generation, and was especially good when the resources that a Prime Minister can command were made available to her. That doesn't mean I agreed with her in the slightest way, but I did have grudging respect. With hindsight.

The next two debates will be (1) an anti-LibDem conspiracy, and (2) a last desperate plea. The third will be the best, as some (hopefully) will have nothing to lose and will speak more openly and freely; and in a less stage-managed way.

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