Last night I had the pleasure of attending Sky News’ London Mayoral Debate. The setting was on a very high floor in the overwhelmingly huge Heron Tower, the tallest building within the City of London. Being practically skyrocketed up in the elevator felt like being transported to another world. A very political world. Amongst the excited excited audience the usual journos were lurking in the backgrounds no doubt planning their personal ways of spinning the result even before a single word is said from the three men invited to debate. We think politicians are bad for their spinning, but its certainly not without the help of their friends in the media.
The debate itself, I expected, was to be a carbon copy of the Newsnight debate we had seen a few weeks back. However, with an eager audience who were openly invited to stand up at any time and make themselves heard, there was a certain edge to the proceedings where you never quite knew what could happen or what someone might say. Kind of like Question Time on crack, but held in some weird detached political bubble overlooking London. The questions came thick and fast with topics covering housing, poverty, crime, the London riots and transport. Some very eager bike enthusiasts nearby even got to ask the question they had been planning on road safety for cyclists. However, what really surprised me most that night was the reaction from the audience. We, as Lib Dems, already hold a certain fondness for Brian Paddick (well I hope you all do!), but too often Lib Dem candidates are too quickly dismissed by the public for their allignment with the party. This was not the case as even Adam Boulton himself conceded that if the debate was to be judged on claps from the audience then Brian was the clear winner. Amidst the usual bickering between Boris and Ken, Brian managed to articulate his points clearly and passionately making some risky claims that really took many back (blaming the death of cyclists on Boris was a risky move that paid). Whether it was road safety or Brian’s knowledge of the police and crime issues, he commanded the platform he shared and managed to hold off the ramblings from two, quite frankly, political giants.
All in all Brian pulled off what Nick Clegg did back in 2010, although I doubt viewers would be so quick to fall at the feet of our candidate after a few debates this time around. But asides from that, it seemed that Brian really managed to step up his game in a way that will be hugely beneficial to the London Liberal Democrat campaign. If Brian’s performance wasn’t enough of a boost then the latest Mayoral poll will certainly add to it. Just a week or so ago we were fearing that the Green candidate Jenny Jones was on the verge of becoming the third candidate with Brian polling as low as 5%. However, we now see that support has risen to 11%, over double what he previously was polling. The momentum is there and if Brian can put in another strong performance in the ITV debate on Tuesday (which will no doubt have a much higher viewership) then London could really be in for a surprise on May 3rd.
To find out more about Brian’s campaign then go to his website http://www.brianpaddick.com
Oh and if you’re the tweeting type then remember to use the hashtag #paddickpower
ANOTHER thing, watch this fantastic video: