Very brief, but in order of performance…
- 1st, Chris: good interventions, best on policy. Absolutely creamed Oaten on his attempts to claim the Liberal crown. Delighted to hear him critical of road user charging (preferring higher fuel duties) and his general candidness about environmental policy. Also, by far the strongest on public sector reform.
- 2nd, Ming: came across very well. Articulate, to the point. Not clear what he was saying about the Lib Dem’s current policy on getting more women MPs, describing it as a complete failure yet opposing all women shortlists. I would humbly suggest that the failure was in the lack of senior political support, not the current GBTF policy itself which has been a modest success.
- 3rd, Oaten: came across as the most bullying and least consensual. His pontificating about Cameron not being a real liberal was a joke given his own latter-day damascene conversion. On environmental issues he was appalling, claiming that we should simply financially reward good behaviour rather than punish bad behaviour (with what? Fairy dust?), and waxing about bioethanol which is a complete environmental blind alley. But at least he participated, unlike…
- 4th, Hughes: the most reserved of the four and all but disappeared as the debate went on. Genial and consensual, and what he said was fine, but he allowed the others to dominate which is not what you want to see in a leader.
Conclusion: on this type of format, Huhne could do very well indeed. Roll on Any Questions (and Question Time?).
Oh, and Rob Fenwick – you are very cheeky! 🙂