There we have it - the leaders' debates are over. Successful? Definitely. Decisive? We shall see. Tonight's third and final debate was feistier than the past two, particularly on the issue of immigration (an issue which has had more prominence after bigot-gate).
The economy was Brown’s to lose, and he did not. He proved that he is the doyen on the economy after his Chancellorship. His technocracy paid off, and there was little criticism (and rightly so) for the way in which Brown has dealt with the recession.
The most heated debate came on the issue of immigration. Cameron dodged direct questions from both of the other leaders about his proposed “cap on immigration”. My thoughts: arbitrary and vacuous. Merely electioneering to show that his party want to deal with immigration, but not too sure how. The two old parties criticised the Liberal Democrats purported “amnesty” on immigrants. Clegg was hesitant, but managed to defend his party’s position. Bring them into the system and, if necessary offer citizenship, or alternatively deport. How do the other parties propose identifying those who are here illegally?
Cameron perpetuated his party’s anti-European stance, and further perpetuated his intransigence over the increase in the Inheritance Tax Threshold. The parties were virtually on other issues including the loopholes in the benefits system and housing.
Democracy has been the winner and I predict a higher turnout in next week’s election. I often thought that the debates would focus far too much on style and leave substance on the sidelines. On the contrary, policy has been forensically debated, and credit must go to all three leaders for that.
The closing submissions were all strong. However, I do fear that we may have heard Gordon Brown’s valedictory? And possibly even Cameron’s too?