A night of convenient questions for Dave


8:30 am - April 23rd 2010

by Paul Sagar    


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So, last night’s leaders debate was pretty dull – much less fun than last week.

However, I’m sure many people were surprised to hear Sky News allow a question on immigration – indeed, almost an identical question to one posed last week.

Yet there was no question on foreign development aid – something that the Tories slashed in half but Labour has made big advanced on. Nor, shockingly, a direct question about electoral reform, just some vague fluff about potential coalitions.

Now why might this be?

I don’t want to sound, y’know, paranoid – but what’s the deal with Murdoch-owned Sky News’ questions? It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that last week the only questions that Cameron scored highly on (according to the BBC’s “worm”) were…immigration and crime?

Or that PR is a topic that public discussion of which would benefit the Lib Dems? Or that foreign development aid is something Labour can be proud of?

Either way, that looked like another clear win for Clegg. And Brown was worse this week – but so was Cameron.

BBC News’ “worm” tracker of Ipsos Mori-selected focus group response just recorded a big popularity boost for Cameron when he talked about immigration. Again.

How convenient for Dave that he could repeat last week’s successful mantra. Thanks Rupert.

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About the author
Paul Sagar is a post-graduate student at the University of London and blogs at Bad Conscience.
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Reader comments


Some of the questions were not so convenient though, but artfully dodged by Cameron.

For example, the question on what steps have you taken to reduce your carbon emissions by changing the way you use transport in the last six months was clearly aimed at Cameron.

He’s been jetting about on rich Tory’s planes and helicopters all election, but he avoided that entirely.

People are just mean to immigrants Paul. Its really shitty of them, but they are and thats why the question came up. People are non-plussed by aid or electoral reform. You and I are not the target audience for these debates.

Two weeks of campaigning to go, and another debate.

I doubt many people will make their mind up on the basis of the fairly artificial debate format. Each party has a core of support which isn’t going to be swayed, and the “undecideds” will make their minds up on a whole raft of fairly nebulous factors.

Listening to some of the post debate commentary, I’d say more and more people ARE convinced that a hung parliament is going to happen, and may be a good thing. All Clegg needs to do is sit back, not do anything stupid, and watch the other two no-hopers try to avoid a melt down.

Paul: I would have said the Prime Minister performed considerably better this week than last week; the courage of his convictions suits him. Unfortunately, he could have performed spectacularly better and still have looked like a spavined bull.

Immigration is one of the top five concerns at election time. Aid is not.

John Q: yeah, last week I thought he was good and the polls panned him, and this week I thought he was bad and he’s done better in the polls. Meh.

I agree – I thought the questions showed a subtle bias towards the Tories.

I also thought it was extremely unfair that Boulton alluded to the newspaper smearing of Nick Clegg; this was “fair and balanced” only in the Fox News sense. What else did you expect from the ‘Murdochracy’?

(Hilariously, if you type ‘Murdochracy’ into Google, it says: Did you mean Murdoch Racist?)

There was also the question about why people should vote which gave all the opportunity to repeat answers from last week about expenes/reform etc which I would have thought would favour the LibDems.

“I doubt many people will make their mind up on the basis of the fairly artificial debate format. ”

I dont know, I think this x factor style will cause a massive turn out. My work colleague was telling me that she was in a taxi and the driver told her that he was going to vote lib dems after the strength of cleggs performance. She asked who he was going to vote for before that and he said BNP!

@8 Dave

“She asked who he was going to vote for before that and he said BNP!”

It really is sad how superficially some people engage in the process, but I suppose ’twas ever thus? Perhaps it is worse nowadays, or perhaps we just hear about it more?

I’m not saying the debates have had, or will have, NO impact…. I just think it’s only one factor. Even the converted racist referred to above probably isn’t seeing reason purely on the basis that he agrees with Nick too.

@9 Galen10

Too true, unfortunately. But does it make a difference how you vote? After all the government always gets in anyway.

I truly believe thats the feeling of a lot of people and is causing a certain feeling of hopelessness when it comes to election time, having the choice of just two parties.

I think the best thing about the tv show it gave the lib dems a platform and got them noticed more.

I also dont think this taxi driver was racist – he was voting for BNP because he didn’t want to voter Labour or Conservative. A little zenophobic perhaps, but having never met the chap I wouldnt want to label him so easily.

After all look what trouble that causes.

@10 Dave

I tend to agree with you about the value of the debates WRT getting the LD’s noticed. I could never understand why Cameron and Pa Broon rolled over quite so easily to the idea of it being 3-way….. tho perhaps the wonks at Nu Labour saw it coming? If so I have some grudging admiration for the bottom dwelling pond scum.

As for the taxi driver… well, I’m afraid BNP = racist in my book. I doubt that even many fellow travellers are honestly supporting them for their policy on the environment or the economy…except insofar as any problems were the fault of immigrants/the EU/ freemasons/Jews/space lizards (OK…one of those may a bit OTT…)

“Yet there was no question on foreign development aid – something that the Tories slashed in half but Labour has made big advanced on.”

Can you point to where the Tories did slash foreign aid by 50%? Pre 1997 is so long ago that I really cannot remember. Any links?

The hashtag #skyareshite might be helpful…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w

  2. Roland Ellison

    RT @libcon: A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w

  3. Lee Griffin

    Yep: RT @libcon http://bit.ly/aKKB8w <– Cameron gets full support of Sky in biased debate, and the best he can muster is a draw #ukelection

  4. Francis Barton

    RT @libcon: A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w

  5. Paul Nolan

    RT @libcon A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/civnaL

  6. MissTJD

    Interesting point re SkyNews 'impartiality' (or lack thereof) RT @libcon A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w

  7. Thomas O Smith

    RT @libcon: A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w

  8. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by libcon: A night of convenient questions for Dave http://bit.ly/aKKB8w





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