i3t – The Leaders Debate

This week saw the first TV debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson on itv.

Labour and Corbyn supporters have been gloating that he won the debate where as Boris and the Conservatives say they won the debate.

It’s a fairly safe bet that one of these two men will be our new Prime Minister after next months General Election so it was good seeing them debate like this.

Corbyn, for the most part, held up well given that he’s not a natural showman where as Boris clearly is. That’s not a political commentary either it’s just a statement of facts. Boris knows how to perform well for an audience. Jeremy Corbyn just isn’t as good as that. But then again look at Blair and Cameron. Both of those men were good at playing to an audience. Theresa May? Not so much.

The debate clearly showed what the public see as the big issue in this election – Brexit.

No matter what the question, even when warned by debate chair Julie Etchingham, Boris’s answer was “we will get Brexit done.”

His plan is to get a majority at the upcoming election and use that to push through his Brexit deal which is essentially the same as the deal Theresa May had tried repeatedly to push through asides the removal of a few key words.

“Boris do you want a cup of tea?”

“Brexxxxiiitttt!!”

“Yes or no Boris. Tea?”

“Our Brexit deal will ensure we get Brexit done.”

“Fine no tea for you.”

“See! Our EU Membership means we need Brexit so I can have tea!”

On the flip side Corbyn kept pushing Labour’s stance on Brexit which is to negotiate a better deal within three months and then give the public a final say on the matter within 6 months in a 2nd referendum. This one, unlike the first referendum, would be legally binding and would give people the option of leaving with the details of the new deal, or remaining in the EU.

What massively, massively, hurt Corbyn is that he still refuses to take a side. The country is firmly divided between leave and remain. But he’s playing the gambit that by presenting this option it’ll appeal to both the leave and remain camps.

Truthfully? I feel it’s making him look weak. What has, rightly or wrongly, become the biggest issue in politics right now and he’s playing wait and see.

In an ideal world playing neutral would be a good idea. But we don’t live in an ideal world and sooner or later he’s going to have to pick a side. Every day that goes by where he doesn’t is costing him votes.

Boris claims for their policies in the rest of debate don’t even reverse the last decade of austerity brought on by the Tories being in power. 20,000 extra police officers is great but when we’ve lost 22,000 that’s still a net loss.

Increasing spending to the NHS and Schools looks good on posters until you fact-check those claims and find out that in real terms it’s still a funding cut when you take into account rising costs and inflation.

Labour are offering a radical alternative to that with proposals of massive massive public spending projects, re-nationalisation Of Royal Mail, the rail network, and parts of BT. Plus free Broadband for all and free dental checkups. It’ll be a seismic change if they get elected and if they can pull it off.

My question here then is what they are proposing that bit too radical?

One thing you can’t deny is that the 2019 Election will offer a very real choice.

The Manifestos are starting to be published so I’ll be going through them looking at some of the claims over the next few weeks.

That’ll be something to look forward to won’t it?