Phil Stephens video (FT): Gordon Brown becoming irrelevant, which is extraordinary; Clegg keeping post 1st debate position, also extraordinary
Robert Shrimsley (FT Blog): One of the most LibDem positive things I’ve ever read:
David Cameron is not in trouble because he lost the first debate. He lost the first debate because he was already in trouble. Mr Cameron – as Labour leaders never tire of pointing out – should have closed this deal months before the election was called.
The astonishing lack of substance – in some ways manifested best by David Cameron’s presposterous claim that Labour’s National Insurance contributions rise represents the biggest threat to the recovery (you may not like the Labour policy but it’s hardly the ballgame).- has made the debates all the more central but also played to a TV format. Only Mr Clegg is offering both a vision of change and something approaching comprehensible set of policies which underpin it. Mr Cameron offers the vision without the policies; Mr Brown the policies with the vision. You may not like or agree with the Lib Dem platform but it exists and ticks both boxes.
James Crabtree’s 5 thoughts (Prospect magazine). Also pro Clegg, and on Brown, “There is a real danger that Labour now find themselves solidly—in the polls, in the public eye and in the mind of media—the third party in this election.” It is a change election. A tough one for Labour. Still, Cameron the most likely next PM, but a host of problems for both of them.
J Freedland: more on Brown being irrelevant. “A government in power for 13 years cannot hope to win an election that is now all about change. Instead its best hope surely has to be to maximise its core vote to prevent a collapse into the low 20s on percentage points, a defeat even more absolute than that of 1983.”
And what do the Tories do now? Go negative or positive? Is there a difference, when this is what Conservatives regard as a positive message? But being properly negative risks having them dragged down with what looks like an unpopular press (see Chancellor on this)