Polls indicate that Cameron prevailed in the final debate last night (and I agree), which should further slow any inroads by the Liberal Democrats into the Tory base. No knock-out blows, however. The biggest loser was Gordon Brown, who has not been having a good week.
Obviously [the Lib Dems] want as much of the vote as possible. But their realistic upside is probably a hung parliament in which Labour does embarrassingly poorly and they become the de facto second party. If the model is right, however (yes, I’m going to keep caveatting that), and if Cameron gets another point or two out of the debate, it may be hard for them to overtake Labour in the seat count whilst simultaneously denying Conservatives a majority.
That’s correct, I think.
Over at Critical Reaction, Graham Stewart has plenty to say about the Liberal Democrats, none of it nice:
The other message that came out from last night’s encounter was that Nick Clegg’s self-satisfied ‘two old parties … point scoring’ soundbites are really beginning to grate. What is more, when challenged by Cameron, he said ‘no I’m not advocating entry into the euro’ and would not do so until the time was clearly right, ‘if ever.’ This is perhaps the closest any of the leaders has come to telling a barefaced lie in these debates. Clegg has always been a committed supported of the euro. His party’s manifesto clearly states ‘we believe that it is in Britain’s long term interest to be part of the euro.’ On this issue, the Lib Dems’ leader is as much a fraudster as his party’s biggest paymaster, Michael Brown, who is currently on the run.
Indeed he is, and not just on this issue. Cranmer has the details, including this:
And [Clegg] tried to hide the facts about immigration from outside the EU: ‘You say numbers, can you now tell me, am I right or wrong that 80 per cent of people who come here come from the European Union…?’
But official statistics show Nick Clegg is completely wrong. In 2008, net foreign migration was 251,000 of which 63,000 or 25 per cent was from the EU. Over the past five years the average has been 31 per cent.