Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Debate

The debate is on. Berties eyes look tired and a little bored, he keeps staring down or away from the others at the table when talking about his finances. Enda looks a little nervous, isn't speaking with confidence, keeps stumbling over his words, tries to throw out memorized anecdotes about meeting people in trouble, Bertie interrupts him and throws him off his stride. It's depressing that the final overall result of a tight general election could turn on the outcome of this debate.

Update 22:18 - Bertie is getting into his stride on medical care. He is throwing numbers and statistics out. Enda is responds with ideals, programs and contracts. Bertie is speaking louder than Enda so when they argue Bertie comes out on top. Enda is having problems, shaking his head, getting overwhelmed, Bertie can see this, smiles and gets into his stride.

Update 22:22 - Miriam O'Callahan came closest to landing a blow with her "we've never been richer, when was the moment to spend more money on things like cystic fibrosis". Enda seemed to take some heart from that and gets off the ropes to fight back. Still getting talked down.

Update 22:30 - Onto finance, bound to be a strong area for Bertie. Enda talks about restoring competitiveness. Tries another anecdote about a small company, Bertie jumps in and stops him dead starts talking about successful industries. Bertie keeps talking about what has been done and how good things are now. Enda tries to talk about what needs to be done in the future. Bertie keeps talking, Miriam has to let Enda in.

Update 22:34 - Enda attacks Bertie for things Fianna Fail left out of their costings. Bertie hits back with the costs of the Fine Gael/Labour budget being 5.8 billion nearly 3 billion over whats available. Enda insists he's wrong and responds with more figures. Enda seems to be getting into this topic. Attacks Bertie on the broken promises. Miriam has to put her hand on him to stop him talking. About time he got angry :-)

Update 22:39 - Bertie attacks Enda on tax cuts. Enda responds with stamp duty. Bertie says FF is the party that made the construction industry. Enda responds saying FF is the party that benefited from the construction industry. Bertie brings it back to FG's tax cuts being for the well off not for the lower earners. Enda tries to bring it back to Stamp duty. There are two different debates going on.

Update 22:46 - Crime. Bertie says crime is down, more Gardai, more prison places, Asbos, criminal justice bill. Enda responds with statistics on serious crime. Miriam hits him with the fact that the figures are wrong. Woops. Bertie points out that Jim O'Keefe quoted different crime figures. Asks why is Enda against Thornton Hall prison, why did he freeze prison places last time he was in government. Suddenly Enda is loosing on crime. Bertie accusing Enda of talking over him, bit rich that.

Update 22:52 - Bertie pointing out Enda has not allocated money for 1000 of his proposed 2000 new gardai. Enda says the current government left the money unspent from the last allocation, Bertie points out those 1000 Gardai are in training this year. Bertie smiling knows he's caught Enda off guard (no pun intended). Bertie says crime figures here are getting talked up.

Update 23:02 - Quality of Life and education. Miriam raises commuting times and people not happy. Bertie talks about 2 Metro Lines and 7 Luas. Enda points out it was supposed to be built now. Bertie says you cannot just ignore the rights of local people. Enda talks about family life suffering, bad planning, no schools. Bertie interrupts him again. Class sizes are an issue. Bertie says 20:1 is the target and it has been achieved in disadvantages areas. Enda points out it is a broken promise. Enda raises the issue of education for autism Bertie looks a bit annoyed.

Time is up now it's closing addresses.

Enda didn't loose badly but I think he did loose. He was a little nervous and uncomfortable, got talked down too often, stuttered over his points a bit. Bertie came out ahead, more confident and competent but a little arrogant, I thought, and he looked like he wasn't all that interested.