Watched the whole debate last night and I would score it (out of 10) Cameron 8, Clegg 8, Brown 7. Improvements for Cameron and Brown and Clegg still performed well but did not repeat last week’s efforts. Still, he should have had a torrid evening as he was there for the taking on his nuclear policy and on his and his party’s fondness for all things European. Gordon Brown probably landed the best punch on Clegg over Trident: “get real Nick!”. Sadly Cameron missed the open goal of the European issue where all polls show the Conservatives are most trusted.
Next week I very much hope Cameron focuses on two key issues. Firstly he needs to advertise our best policy – free schools. He should have pushed this harder last week and missed the chance. I am convinced it’s a vote winner. Secondly he needs to bang home the point I made in my last post that if the country wants change – and I believe that it does – then the only answer is to vote Conservative. Even though the topic for next week’s debate is the economy I would not, if I were Cameron, spend the entire debate talking about finances. The country has made up its mind that the country’s finances are in a dreadful state and Gordon Brown will not be able to wriggle off that hook. However he will debate this point well as it is his area of “expertise”. Cameron needs to use the time to pull the debate onto other issues.
Having said all that Cameron’s style was vastly improved. He looked at the camera, and he clearly communicated the fact that he is ready to become Prime Minister. On that score he outshone Nick Clegg and was more attractive than Gordon Brown. Cameron did what he needed to do last night, and in the words of the BBC’s Nick Robinson, it’s “game on” for the next 2 weeks.