Leaders face the public as “North London geek” gets personal

Labour leader Ed Miliband with Kay Burley (let) and Jeremy Paxman (right)
Labour leader Ed Miliband with Kay Burley (let) and Jeremy Paxman (right)
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Ed Miliband shows his hard side, David Cameron gets defensive and Jeremy Paxman barely breaks a sweat.

Such was the start of the TV debates.

No knock out blow, but a victory for the Miliband camp if you had to call it.

In a performance which many will say was heavily rehearsed, Ed Miliband took on Jeremy Paxman with an “Am I tough enough, hell yeah?” performance.

Mr Miliband rescued his performance when he addressed his personal leadership, but that only came after a less than confident performance defending Labour policies.

Indeed, if it wasn’t for the personal, Ed would be facing disaster. Instead, he stood strong when asked how he feels about being a “North London geek.”

While David Cameron rarely hit out, Mr Miliband frequently went on the attack with Paxman, leaning in and challenging the questions.

For a Prime Minister who has had to axe spending for five years, Mr Cameron did okay. You won’t remember any of his answers, and since they were mostly rubbish that’s for the best as far as the Conservative’s are concerned.

David Cameron and Ed Miliband proved one thing, audience Q&As are election fodder for professional politicians. Arguably Mr Miliband had the worse encounter. He did okay when asked why he is always so gloomy (didn’t blame genetics) but looked like a career politician when he tried to tackle the “why demonise me for working hard” question.

Will anyone remember tonight? No if they work outside of politics. Will anyone change how they vote? No, but it has prepared the ground for Mr Miliband, the edge is with him now.

A snap poll called it 54% for Mr Cameron, 46% for Mr Miliband. Not great for Labour, but much better than usual personal rating.