A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Thursday 15th April - 21 days to polling day
15/04/2010 23:59:00

Spent the morning in Monks Hill - including canvassing my old road, Lomond Gardens, and finding four garden poster sites on Farnborough Avenue - and the afternoon and evening in Shirley then back home to watch the leaders' debate.

I think these debates are long overdue and I respect David Cameron and Gordon Brown for agreeing to give Nick Clegg equal billing (which arguably he doesn't deserve because it is extremely unlikely that he is going to end up as Prime Minister on 7th May) - if they hadn't done that, the debates would never have happened as the Liberal Democrats would have challenged the decision in the courts. I have always thought they were taking a big risk doing so for two reasons - first, Nick Clegg is relatively unknown and, given that he is a good communicator, his participation was always going to do him a favour; and second, given that Cameron and Brown were always going to focus on each other and try to make common cause with Clegg, he was always going to get an easy ride.

So indeed it proved and to be fair I thought Nick Clegg took his opportunity very well (I obviously didn't agree with everything he said - in particular, trying to present the Liberal Democrats as representing a new style of politics when their MPs were just as embroiled in the expenses row as Labour and the Conservative and when they promised a referendum on Lisbon at the last election and then voted against one lacks any credibility - but he still came across well). I thought Cameron was good, particularly on the NHS, school discipline, crime and immigration, but I would have liked him to show a bit more passion and taken Brown to task a bit more on aspects of his record. I thought Brown was aggressive, had very little positive to say and was focused on his old game of making promises of how much of our money he is going to spend as if that is what matters rather than results. There was one comment that I found particularly revealing - he said Cameron's plan to reduce government waste and cut Labour's tax on jobs would take money out of the economy. In other words, Gordon Brown believes that taking more of your money so that the Government can spend it is putting money into the economy, that the Government spends your money more wisely than you would do. You have been warned...

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Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG