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The leaders debate was revealing, but hasn’t turned the tide

6 December 2019

11:29 PM

6 December 2019

11:29 PM

In Friday night’s final TV debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, neither leader landed a sucker punch on the other. Your verdict, as James Forsyth says in our Coffee House Shots podcast, will depend on what you believe the polls to be saying. If you already believe that the polls suggest a Tory majority, then Corbyn didn’t do well enough to turn that tide. But if you are cautious about the polls, then a hung parliament is still eminently possible because he just might have got enough ‘undecided’s on side.


The New Statesman’s political editor Stephen Bush also joins the podcast, breaking the devastating news that a Pret Christmas sandwich holds more calories than a Big Mac. His point is that brand matters. In other words, Pret will still be seen as more healthy than McDonald’s and:

‘Labour are the generous brand. It does not matter how many times the Tories say “we’ve run the NHS for most of its existence”, they’re the ones that aren’t trusted on it. Ditto… the Conservatives are the mean fiscally tough [brand].’

The most perilous moment in the debate came near the end, when an audience question asked the leaders what punishment should be meted out to politicians who lie. Boris Johnson was caught short and, as Katy Balls points out, sounded sheepish, almost embarrassed. The audience laughed knowingly as Johnson floundered – trust is obviously his biggest issue. The question is whether this will decide the election and, at this stage, that doesn’t quite seem likely.


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