22 April 2010

"International development not mentioned in second debate" shock

The second UK Leaders' debate just finished. This debate had been billed as being on international affairs. What did we learn about the leaders' views on international development and climate change?

1. There were no questions on international development. I did not think there would be--this is not a hot button topic with the UK electorate and there are bigger dividing lines on issues such as Europe and nuclear deterrents.

2. Opening statements reflected manifesto framings of Britain's role in the world: David Cameron talked about making defence strong, borders safe, country secure. Nick Clegg talked about Britain being a force for good in the world, standing up for human rights, seeing climate change as the biggest challenge of all. Gordon Brown talked about alliances against poverty and a greener economy.

3. Question on climate change: what have you done in your personal life to become greener? I thought all three had surprisingly little to say here (Brown: solar panel, trains; Clegg: trains, I could do more, and Cameron: home insulation). They all wanted to get onto the policy stuff. Brown and Cameron attacked Clegg for being against nuclear energy.

4. On aid: I think David Cameron was the only one to mention aid, and that was in the context of bringing the work of different UK ministries together when talking about what to do in Afghanistan.

And finally,

5. International affairs are not likely to be a big issue in this election. Only half of the debate was dedicated to it. That will be 45 minutes out of 270 over the 3 debates.

As far as this election goes so far its seems that "its the domestic issues, stupid".

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