A helicopter swoops from the heavens, casting a thick limelight onto Sky HQ – the amphitheatre for the first televised debates is set. Head-to-head “could be messy” an undecided voter suggests from the comfort of his living room couch. But proceedings turned out more vanilla than killer.
Ed and Dave didn’t clash during the first head-to-head, they instead queued (very Britishly) for their opportunity to bring their manifesto to the audiences sat at home. A make-up plastered Kay Burley added an impenetrable layer of superficiality to proceedings, with both competitors enjoying free-roam during audience questions.
Paxman, the infamous pitbull of political journalists, was given the job of slaughtering the lambs live on Channel 4 and Sky News. However, as the awful theme music chimed and the studio lights rose, nothing of the sort materialised. Paxman went light on DC and Ed got a slight jostle… “Are you feeling alright?” questions Paxman as the titles rolls, “yes, are you?” replies Miliband – a sign that Paxman wasn’t on his usual grating form.
Unsurprisingly both candidates thought they’d be perfect for the position, and like an awkward first job interview (probably for a zero-hours contract) they proceeded smugly tell us why. Ed claimed our country was burdening younger people with debt, but failed to reassure Paxman on a deficit reduction plan. Cameron admits he failed over immigration, but said he’d support a minimum wage rise to £8.00. A vanilla-strength exchange of admissions and promises continued…
Is this just another electioneering moment for the two main parties, or has daylight been put between DC and Ed? Ed Miliband tickled a few funny bones and David Cameron maintained his pristine quiff with superb verbal balance. Infinite polls will be published validating a “this” or “that” victor. But the most important question Paxman didn’t ask: “will there be an empty chair when it comes the time for the BBC to host the debate?” There’s still a long way left to Rome, and Ed still has more hands to play.