First TV Debate.

Politics For the benefit of international readers, tonight offered something of a historic moment for UK politics with the first live television debate between the three party leaders which is why some names that have no relevance to you will have been trending on twitter (it's us getting our own back for Justin Bieber). In televisual terms, ITV's presentation of the first debate was bargain basement; the set looked like it last saw service during Telethon '90 and the compare/moderator Alistair Stewart seemed more nervous and snippy than the party leaders themselves, randomly shouting out their surnames in a bizarre attempt to recreate the mood of University Challenge.

The majority of first reaction polls (in other words the ones from television networks without vested interests) suggest Nick Clegg won and he really did. Far from being the add-on many feared he often dominated exchanges and as Cameron offered anecdotes but little in the way of policy detail and Brown spent most of his time either agreeing with Clegg or asking for the chance to put right what he let go wrong. In his opening statement, Clegg said that he wanted to demonstrate that he offered an alternative to the old politics and he continued with that throughout time and again, noting that the more the other two argued, the more they sounded like they were saying the same thing over and over again.

Nick genuinely laughing when Gordon agreed with him once again. Addressing one questioner he then referred to another from earlier on in the debate working in her location (Blackburn -- see -- I remember it too now). But in general he just seemed more confident and got his points across more clearly. He also repeated them often, understanding that people may be tuning in and out and that they will remember policies best if they hear them over and over. That didn't happen with the other two who were too busy squabbling with each other over details of policy and points scoring rather than addressing the audience both in the studio and at home. If Nick Clegg's performance tonight doesn't increase the Liberal Democtrat's standing in the polls, nothing will.

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