The first question of the evening concerned the NHS and whether the service received in Wales (the show was in Wrexham) was of a worse quality than received in England. The politicians engaged in plenty of point scoring, with claims and counter claims. I would expect this to continue in the coming months, with Labour believing they have an advantage over the Conservatives on this issue. Using statistics to back up claims is all well and good, but surely the aim should be to provide the very best possible service possible for the people who need it; people are more important than statistics. With so many claims about the NHS (weaponising it for the election even if claims are to be believed), I wonder if it would be much better if it was left to the professionals in the health service to decide how best to proceed.
The second question concerned debt and whether refusing to pay is an option; this question was based around Greece and the election of Syriza, who campaigned on an anti-austerity ticket. Syriza have said that they will renegotiate the, but so far Europe seems unlikely to allow this to happen.
Fracking was the next question. The country needs energy and fracking could provide energy at cheap prices, although further research needs to be conducted to assess the accompanying risks. Peter Hain favoured renewable sources of energy, but these currently produce only around 10% of the energy used in the country.
The fourth question was about the scheme tried in Glasgow, where pregnant women were encouraged to stop smoking by being given shopping vouchers. The scheme resulted in a higher quitting success rate than through willpower alone.
The last question concerned the proposed TV debates ahead of the General Election. The new proposals have seen seven parties invited to take part. I believe that with so many participants, the debates will be of little value; the small amount of time each participant gets seems most likely to be spent giving soundbites and rubbishing opponents as opposed to explaining policy.