My 6 points on Radio 4’s The World Tonight

by Stephen Tall on April 25, 2010

My third appearance on Radio 4’s The World Tonight last Friday, looking back at the second leaders’ debate and forward to the campaign still to come. You can catch up with it via BBC iPlayer here, beginnin about 34 mins in.

I mentioned last week my habit of jotting down 6 points I hope to be able to put across – of which I usually only manage to shoe-horn in one-and-a-half. So here they are in text, if not in audio:

1. A hung parliament is not a danger to the economy. It would be far more dangerous if either Labour or the Tories were to scrape a small majority, and be held to ransom by their more extremist backbenchers: far better to gain consnsus through coalition.

2. The Lib Dems have gone further than either Labour or Tories in pinpointing public spending we would cut, but it’s still nothing like enough given the ‘savage cuts’ we all accept will have to be made. And that requires parties to come together, not tear each other apart.

3. The dynamic of the second debate was different for Nick Clegg. He was never likely to have another runaway win: what he needed to do was consolidate, and prove his first victory wasn’t a fluke. In that he succeeded beyond any doubt.

4. Clearly both Brown and Cameron had improved, had taken tips from Nick, and put in much better performances. Yet still they couldn’t lay a finger on him. That’s impressive leadership (and indeed showmanship).

5. What we have yet to see is whether Nick’s ability to tap into a mood for change can translate into votes cast: that’s what the next fortnight will be all about.

6. There has been a bizarre pace to the campaign, with perhaps too much focus on the televised debates at the expense of focus on the parties’ policies.