Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Campaign Diary Day 7 - TV3 Debate

Like most of the political twonks in the country, I ditched last night's canvass a few minutes early to get to a TV to watch the first Leaders' Debate on TV3. After all the fuss over Enda Kenny's no show, it was good to finally get the show on the road and get some actual interaction between some of the leading politicians in the country. Over the course of an hour or so, Martin and Gilmore got stuck into each other in what was, surprisingly, a very entertaining debate.

Here are just a few observations having had a night to sleep on it.
  • Vincent Browne showed that he can be well behaved and not harangue people. This was nearly the biggest surprise of the night.
  • Micheal Martin has a brass neck of epic proportions. He did very well distancing himself from the current government despite Eamon Gilmore constantly referring to him as Minister.
  • Gilmore came across as calm and collected which will stand him in good stead. For a long time he has been portrayed as a shouty firebrand and while his hardline support (me included) wished he got stuck in to Martin a bit more, the moderate stance will have played well to the middle ground, floating voter.
  • Enda Kenny would have been destroyed by either of them. The 5 way will give Kenny a bit of match practice but the final two debates will leave him with nowhere to hide.
  • Martin's performance vindicates his shafting of Brian Cowen. Had Cowen been debating Gilmore, Labour would be heading for an overall majority after the debate.
  • Neither side lander a killer blow or made a major mistake. Both sides will be happy to have one debate under their belts and will be more "match fit" than the other leaders for the remaining debates.
Enda Kenny didn't have a great night of it down in Leitrim either. The video of 8 odd minutes (RTE) of a heckling from a disgruntled attendee (Newstalk) is very funny. There really seemed to be no way to stop the man once he was in full flow despite some attempted strong-arming by FG handlers and loyalists. Lidl's spoof interview between Browne and Kenny is also quality entertainment.

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