It’s fascinating to watch Labour and the Tories search around for a response to Lib Dem fever after years of ignoring the third party and being incredibly rude to Nick Clegg every time he stood up to speak in the House of Commons. No sooner would the Speaker call Clegg’s name at the weekly cock fight that is Prime Minister’s Questions than Labour and Tory MPs would fall about laughing. Well, for the time being, the joke is on them.
Our exclusive analysis of political sentiment expressed on Twitter.com shows a surge in pro-LibDem tweets since Nick Clegg’s successful performance in the leaders’ debate on Thursday evening — mirroring the huge swing towards the party in the opinion polls.
History was made last night with Britain’s first televised political leaders’ debate, which was seen as an opportunity for Labour’s Gordon Brown, The Conservatives’ David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg to stamp their authority on an election campaign that has so far failed to generate much excitement.
A drugs campaigner could arguably claim to be the most unusual prospective parliamentary candidate in the general election next month — he is running after winning a competition.
Election day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.
Blood, bombs and sweat defined my time reporting on elections in the Middle East in recent years, so the shoulder shrugs and general apathy I’ve seen covering the build up to Britain’s national ballot next month have been quite a contrast.
Britain’s first live television debates between the leaders of the three mainstream political parties are not the only new feature to add spice to the upcoming general election, which Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced will be held on May 6.
There was a big fuss but no suspense this morning outside Number 10 Downing Street. In what has become a typical pattern in the world of 24-hour news, media organisations had been briefed in advance on the content and the choreography of Gordon Brown’s election announcement. This was the ultimate scripted, pre-packaged news event.
All the main parties are putting time into Twitter in the run-up to the election with the Conservatives saying it’s taking up a fifth of the capacity of their digital campaign team. If the significance of a new medium is measured by the number of political gaffes it transmits then Twitter can lay claim to having arrived following David Cameron’s outburst on Absolute Radio last summer, last month’s ‘scumgate’ episode involving Labour MP David Wright and the hacking of the Twitter accounts of politicians including Energy Secretary Ed Miliband.