Last night's first ever televised leaders' debate saw the three prospective Prime Ministers stick predictably tightly to their manifestos when the subject of the economy was raised.
The debate was scheduled to focus on domestic issues, with the next two, on Sky and BBC, intended to cover foreign policy and the economy respectively.
For much of the discussion, the leaders’ colour-coded ties were the most attention-grabbing feature. However, among an audience grilling on immigration, education and crime, one question on the economy snuck in.
David Cameron was first to respond and attempted to steer the conversation towards National Insurance (NI), dismissing the Government’s proposals as a tax on business and again wheeling out the 100 or so leading businessmen who support the Tories’ NI cuts.
Gordon Brown then took his turn, trying to dismiss Cameron, painting him as an inexperienced upstart without the figures to back up his pledges. But given the way the debate was unfolding, he may have picked the wrong opponent to target.
Nick Clegg saw his stock rise hugely during the show and the man who started the night as the least recognisable of the three candidates came across as authoritative and informed throughout the 90-minute programme.
Clegg described a tax on banks as ‘unavoidable’ and said that public sector pensions had to be addressed. Most radically he proposed a cross party coalition to tackle the economy – a non party-political 'Treasury of talents'.
These TV debates are obviously unprecedented and the impact of Clegg’s strong showing is impossible to gauge.
Even if he has enormously bolstered his profile and reputation, Clegg is undeniably unlikely to led the Lib Dems to victory in the election, but the positive response to his rhetoric may mean some of his policies make it to government, even if Clegg himself does not.
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