A couple of observations on last night’s clash on TV3:
1. Martin won, but Gilmore did not damage himself, and both men looked in control of their briefs. Gilmore still has a chance to breakthrough. It’s early days. Martin’s flash of emotion on the night of the bank guarantee played well.
2. Gilmore was very weak on political reform, seeming to suggest that lengthening the time the Dail sits is the key to making the political system work better. Martin very convincing on his reforms, although it really is hard to stomach Fianna Fail’s messianic conversion to political change.
3. Both men were brutal on job creation. As someone in business, I felt that the only time either even touched on anything other than buzzwords like “innovation” was when Gilmore spoke of the need to boost consumer confidence, but was vague on how. As Eddie Hobbs pointed out, the government does not create jobs.
4. I agree with Harry McGee here. I think Enda would have struggled.
5. Putting Vincent on the leash was good for the candidates, but bad for the public. It really would have enlivened the debate, and been much better for public knowledge, if Vincent had been permitted some questioning of their answers.
You can see me acting the maggot with debate analysis on The Eleventh Hour here. Good fun, and I really like the relaxed, conversational format.