Thought Gordon Brown was very sure footed today. Thought Nick Clegg completely wasted his two questions. And that David Cameron's fixation with the word "straight" - repeated about ten times I think - was quite extraordinary. A change of tack from the "Gordon is mad" meme the Tories, and their tame blogger boys, have been running with?
Clearly - assuming there is a National Debt, and assuming there is a Benefits System - there are some substantial elements in the national revenue and capital budgets that aren't "new" public services. That aren't particularly discretionary. Just as most of our household budgets have elements of rent and mortgage and other more-or-less fixed costs within them. Hardly shock horror now is it?
The difference between the two main parties is going to be in decisions about the approach to pay down and/or servicing of debt in different growth scenarios, whether and how the parties commit to intervening to secure better growth or not, and within the discretionary balance of the Budget where the party priorities lie.
Good to see (or rather hear on R5L) Gordon Brown specifically challenge David Cameron to drop the commitment to tax cuts on Inheritance Tax for some 3,000 million- and billionaires.
Will be interested to see how Iain Dale scores and analyses this encounter. And also wonder what the difference is between (a) watching (b) listening and (c) reading the full exchanges. And (d)(e) and (f) receiving mediated highlights by these means.
Without visuals, without textual analysis I score this encounter:
Brown 8 - Cameron 6 - Clegg 3
UPDATE 13:48: Dale agrees on Cameron and Clegg scores but takes three marks off my Brown score. He doesn't notice the "straight" meme.