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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tories take fright at Vince

The Tories were pretty gung-ho on Twitter about the performance of their shadow Chancellor, George Osborne in the three-way debate on Monday. In truth, it was a triumph of expectation over reality. So little was expected of Osborne that as long as he avoided making any errors then he would be seen as a success.

It was not so easy for Vince Cable, despite accusations that he is able to be more circumspect because he may never become Chancellor. In actual fact given the way the polls are going, it is very likely that Vince Cable will have some government role after the election and in any case he and the Liberal Democrats have always been careful to ensure that our election manifesto promises are deliverable. Vince's problem is that expectations of him were very high. Fortunately, he did not disappoint.

What the Tories really thought is revealed in today's Times, which catalogues the stages of panic that ran through their ranks as the debate unfolded. The paper reports that the Conservatives complained to the programme makers three times during Monday night’s television debate between the candidates for Chancellor, accusing them of skewing coverage in favour of Vince Cable. They say that at one point during the Channel 4 Ask the Chancellors programme senior Tories phoned the hotline to the production staff claiming that the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman was receiving too much applause.
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