The final stretch

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s roundup! The general election is reaching its climax this week. Many will be breathing a sigh of relief, although I sense that the real interest will be found in what happens after the polls close on Thursday.

However, it has been a fascinating week with the final of the three Prime Ministerial debates (even if the debate itself was a bit of damp squib), and the continued Lib Dem surge nudging the election into uncharted territory. Then of course there was perhaps the biggest gaffe in election history dominating the news.

But the news that Gordon Brown “has contempt for the electorate” is not a surprise to Mr Eugenides.

One lifelong Labour loyalist breaches the cordon sanitaire round the gordon insanitaire, and has the temerity to raise the kind of boilerplate concerns that politicians of all stripes affect to be concerned about, and what is our Prime Minister’s reaction?

Should never have put me with that woman… whose idea was that?

Actually, it was the Greeks’ idea, Gordon. We called it democracy.

Meanwhile, were you aware that Mr Brown kept his microphone on all day? Ellen Arnison has the lowdown on the trouble he has been having over other words.

With a more serious take on matters, Indygal has a thoughtful post on the issues surrounding this, and why voters may express such views.

Gordon Brown hasn’t been the only politician having problems communicating, in the eyes of Stuart Winton at least:

Part of the reason for Nick Clegg’s success in the leaders’ debates has supposedly been that he addresses the questioners by their first names, and also due to the way he looks into the camera most of the time when speaking. Apparently these techniques make him a good communicator, but surely there’s a contradiction between the two?

But at least Mr Clegg had the chance to look a bit awkward on the television. Will Patterson outlines why he thinks the SNP’s exclusion from the debates was unjust, and why the Scotland-specific debates are not adequate.

You can see why SNP supporters might be upset, even though no SNP MP has any chance whatsoever of becoming the Prime Minister. After all, it’s no surprise that the SNP would appreciate a taste of the unprecedented boost the Lib Dems have enjoyed as a result.

For one thing, the Lib Dems have secured the endorsement of a proper newspaper for the first time (The Independent doesn’t count, does it?)! James Kelly looks at the decision of The Guardian to back the Lib Dems — mostly justifying his description of the paper as “left-leaning” rather than “Labour-supporting”.

Meanwhile, Jacq Kelly wrote about a special “Ladies Night” hustings that she was involved in setting up, held in the Edinburgh South constituency:

Bored of hearing about haircuts and oddball toes (seriously, c’mon – Sarah Brown is a highly successful business professional) Edinburgh Feminist Network and Edinburgh University Feminists opted for the good old-fashioned way of making politicians listen; giving them hell and demand some answers…

Women need to know that David Cameron wants to hack away their reproductive rights with his wire coat hanger. Or that, under Gordon Brown, welfare reforms pushed women with children further into poverty. The Lib Dems have hardly championed the cause in this campaign either. We want to know what the political parties plan to do to actually help women.

Elsewhere, Chris Jones has been left “furious” at Labour’s anti-Conservative campaigns, with Jim Murphy constantly bringing up Ravenscraig.

You see, I was born and brought up in the North East of England, in the shadow of Redcar steelworks – the industrial jewel of Teesside. Steelworks that two months ago were consigned to history – on the watch of Peter Mandelson and the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, The Shoogly Peg reports on the hustings in Glasgow South.

And that is your lot for this week! Depending on the demand, I don’t think there will be another roundup before the election. But Will Patterson will be back in the hotseat next Sunday to cover the final few days of the campaign, and the aftermath.

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