In these era of 24 Hour News Channels coupled with the immediacy of Facebook groups and Twitter, the one thing the political class has not resolved is how to cope with their demands.
There are two ways to respond. The first is not to respond at all. The second is to use the new media as your own versions of Sky News, or Nick Robinson Must Go or Alastair Campbell for Pope. In some ways the No.10 web site was moving in that direction but under the new Posh & Clegg regime who knows.
I doubt if the three leaders’ debates will happen again or if they do they’ll only be one and that’ll be as close to the election date as possible. To those tuning into politics for the first time – and apart from Sky, the ITV and BBC viewing figures were pretty good – many might have thought they were electing a President not a party to govern the nation. Perhaps this might explain the Clegg hysteria after the first Debate which then to of all surprises did not carry itself into the polling booths.
The day after the Election I said on BBC Radio 4’s World at One that Gordon Brown should give way to David Cameron. My view was that the Tories had won even if it meant a minority Government. The thought that we could patch up some kind of rainbow progressive alliance with the Lib Dems, the SNP et al with a brand new Prime Minister who hadn’t been elected the day before was simply potty. However, I confess I just didn’t see the Tory-Lib Dem coalition and hats off to Cameron and his team for finessing it against all expectations.
I’ve heard plenty of comment from senior politicos which range from “It will last five years”, to “it will be doomed by Christmas”. None of us know but my instinct is if the Lib Dems are slaughtered at the Borough elections next year and Labour does very well, the coalition will falter. We shall see.