Instant and unedited thoughts on the second TV debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage
Missed first two minutes …these were their opening statements. Oops.
I liked the BBC’s structure, well-selected audience and questions, with limited response time, distinguished chairman David Dimbleby.
Initial exchanges were rather unengaging for me. Although prepared statements, not strong links with reasoned argument.
The Farage comment about Putin seemed dangerously distracting ground for Clegg to get on to.
Clegg seems to be making it too personal.
Immigration. Farage rather vague. ‘Didn’t recognize’ a leaflet from his party which Clegg waved..
Disappointing low-level debate too close to Any Questions format.
Clegg clear loser for impact on audience including me.
At first, I thought the BBC had come up with a sensible format that would produce a watchable programme that would interest and enlighten. On reflection it achieved that to some degree. The disappointment was that the event was too revealing of Nick Clegg as a leader in unconvincing mode. His passion seemed channelled too much towards belittling his opponent. His prepared barbs were embarrassing. His focus for attack poorly judged.
I felt that Mr Farage had far more self-belief. It was the self-belief of the charismatic individual. His style was the style of the demagogue. One instructive difference. When an elderly member of the audience asked Farage a question which might have been supplied by a UKIP speech writer, Ferage turned his attention completely to her. She was made to feel the most important person in the world for an instant. Mr Clegg lacks that sort of display of personal warmth. Or at least, he did last night.
‘Exit polls’ within minutes of the debate confirm my view that Farage had been far more successful than Clegg.