Conservative Diary

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Who won the radio debate last night?

Leader debates logo The immediate polls after last night's TV debate pronounced Nick Clegg the "winner" and the media are this morning building him up. This is no surprise since it allows them to tell an interesting and different story (Fleet Street have been agreed for some time that a hung parliament would be "good for trade"), and dare I say it, as they can look forward to knocking him down again before too long.

But if Clegg won the TV debate, what about the radio debate - for the event was also broadcast live on Radio 4.

The only account I have so far found from someone who listened rather than watched is from Daniel Hannan, who blogs:

"On the radio, Cleggie was the clear loser. He talked in cliché, and littered his speech with “I think”, “as I say” and the like. Gordon Brown did much better than I had expected, not least because he has somehow conquered his stammering repetitiveness. David Cameron sounded calm and ready."

Daniel contrasts his view with that of his wife, who did watch the TV debate, and did tend to score it for Clegg.

Did anyone else follow yesterday's debate on radio and come to the same conclusion? Was it Clegg's  speaking directly into the camera which helped him - and will the others follow suit next week?

Does the radio debate matter today in any case? As long ago as 1960, Nixon's supposed victory over Kennedy on the radio waves didn't outdo Kennedy's win on TV. And with television ownership now virtually universal - and the TV audience having been confirmed as having averaged 9.4 million last night - I suspect precious few will have followed on radio, making my headline question somewhat academic.

Jonathan Isaby


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