Without doubt the first ever TV debate between the political leaders has made history and created a precedent that will stand the test of time. But what are the implications?
One surely is that the press has to an extent been disabled. Having heard it from the horses mouth will the great British public ever again unquestionningly accept what a prejudiced newspaper chooses to report? Will it ever again disregard a Party simply because it is frozen out of the frensied headlines? To be specific will a third Party ever again be airbrushed out of the public eye simply because it has no media mogul amongst it’s sponsors?
There is however another argument. Whilst the new age of TV debates may well rob the press of it’s ability to paint it’s own pictures it may also lead to a new judgement by a public used to deciding for or against on looks, dress and apparent affability. But do these really matter in the context of running a country? Certain it is that Churchill was a good leader during difficult years but he would have failed the test. As indeed would Clem Attlee albeit for different reasons.
What did we really learn fom the first debate? We learned, pehaps to our surprise, that Nick Clegg is easier on the eye than grumpy Gordon or Dashing Dave. He may indeed be better in every way but how can we tell? He could simply be a better actor.
But personality and the ability to get the best out of people is important in the role they all seek and he has that in abundance. And he is likeable, not a word one could apply easily to his two running mates.
Worries remain. Will Prime Ministers in the years to come all be handsome and experts in eye-contact? More importantly will they prove to be what they appear to be, will they really know how to balance the books.
Even as I type the gallant three are undoubtedly applying themselves not to the question of costings but to briefings about gestures and colours of their ties.
TV or not TV. The jury is out in more ways than one. I just hope the next edition does not clash with cricket or Manchester United!