Thursday, April 22, 2010

UK General Election 2010 - the second televised leaders' debate

Tonight was the second televised leaders' debate between the leaders of the three main parties:
  • The incumbent Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, Gordon Brown
  • The leader of the Opposition and Conservative Party leader David Cameron
  • The leader of the Liberal Democrats party, Nick Clegg
The theme of tonight's debate was about international affairs.

I thought all three party leaders seemed more aggresive and determined. The debate was definitely much more animated and intense than last week's debate.

I was surprised when they talked a bit about MPs expenses since they discussed that in the first debate and they really just repeated what they said last week. 

At one point in tonight's debate, all three leaders were quibbling about Britain's relationship with America. Then when Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg started to banter back and forth, Gordon Brown stood there with a big grin on his face and then Brown told the audience: "They remind me of my two young boys squabbling at bathtime." Then he said, "'I am afraid David is anti-European, Nick is anti- American."

The immigration issue was discussed at length. Gordon Brown said (bragged more like) that there will be identity cards for foreigners coming into the UK.

I want to know how that is going to help. How do identity cards for foreign nationals make a difference to immigration? Gordon Brown is obsessed with ID cards!

Gordon Brown and David Cameron both disagreed with Nick Clegg about his plans for immigration amnesty. Brown said that the points system was working and Cameron said that we need to have a cap on people coming from outside the European Union for economic reasons.

Climate change and Environmental issues were also discussed. I was pleased to hear David Cameron say, "I've come out very strongly against the third runway at Heathrow. We should be going for high speed rail instead."

What did you think of the second debate?


  1. The first issue tackled was Britain's membership in the European Union. Brown said that the British public was more concerned with employment and the economy rather than any referendum on EU membership.

    The second issue tackled was Britain's involvement in fighting terrorism abroad. Brown had some valid points: most terror threats originate on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border and that new terror threats are arising in Somalia and Yemen. The other two candidates tried to insinuate that they would be more careful in deciding to take action abroad.

    The third issue discussed was climate change. Brown stressed the importance of high speed rail over motorway and air travel. Cameron also stressed the importance of high speed rail over a third runway at Heathrow. Clegg stressed the importance of taxing not just passengers on planes but planes themselves, whether they carry passengers or not. "Lets get real" was repeatedly spoken by Brown in this part of the debate. More nuclear power was discussed. Clegg is against it. He feels that the money could be better spent on insulating homes and other things. Offshore wind power and electric cars were mentioned by Brown as a method of reducing Britain's reliance on nuclear power.

    The Pope's visit was the fourth issue discussed. Cameron felt that the Pope's visit is welcome but that the church is out of touch on certain important issues. Clegg admitted that he is not religous but that his wife is a Roman Catholic. He also welcomed the Pope's visit. Brown talked about civil partnerships, human embryology and contraception.

    Next discussed was trust in politicians. Brown's unelected status and the scandal over expenses was brought up by Cameron. Total transparency was needed, he said. Clegg stressed the importance of voting. Brown admitted to being ashamed of some politician's behavior. He stressed the importance of politics in peoples' lives. Cameron discussed the responsibility of the British public in bringing about change.

    The next issue discussed was pensions. Giving dignity and security to pensioners was discussed by Cameron. Clegg said that he received a letter from an elderly couple whose heating cost was so high they rode around in a bus to stay warm on cold winter days. Brown stressed the importance of giving every woman a full state pension. Two and a half million pensioners live in poverty, said Clegg.

    Cameron became rather annoyed with Brown over the issue of free eye tests. He accused Brown of lying.

    Putting a two year limit on the responsibility for the cost of living in a home for the elderly was brought up by Brown.

    The next issue discussed was the danger of hung parliaments. Cameron stressed the importance of eliminating the job's tax. They all stressed the importance of the parties working together.

    Clegg brought up the fact that 900,000 people were living in Britain illegally. Brown indicated that the point system was bringing down immigration from unskilled workers.

    The closing statements came next. Brown insinuated that the election of either Clegg or Cameron was a threat to the British economy. Cameron accused Brown of trying to frighten people. Making a clean break with thirteen years of failure was called for by Cameron. Clegg accused the others of fear mongering and called for a break from the old way of doing things.

    There were many lively exchanges in this debate. It was well worth watching.

  2. Wow - thank you for sharing your excellent summary of the debate!

    I agree that it was well worth watching this debate. It was definitely much more lively than the first one.