The opening question asked why, with so many encouraging statistics concerning the recovery of the economy, the Conservatives are not predicted to win the General Election by a landslide. Michael Heseltine said that the hard work is beginning to pay off, whilst Caroline Flint accused them of being out of touch and that the majority of people are not benefiting. Nicola Sturgeon wondered why, if this was the case, Labour are not heading for a landslide. I think that this the economy is going to be a big issue in the run-up to the General Election, with the parties taking the lines given as answers to the question. I think that the big advantage for the Conservatives is that they can link Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to the time when the problems started.
The second question was a follow-up to the first, asking if Ant & Dec had said what millions of people are thinking (that Ed Miliband is not seen as a realistic Prime Minister). There was laughter when Michael Heseltine said he had not heard of And & Dec. As to be expected, Flint defended Miliband and Labour, whilst Heseltine attacked.
Question three concerned Russia, it’s threat and if the United Kingdom is prepared. This question seems to be appearing in one form or another most weeks, with the answer essentially being the same of people wanting sanctions and nothing more. Heseltine argued that the UK is safe because it is part of the NATO alliance, giving the country security. In answering, he clashed with Sturgeon over nuclear weapons and whether the country should have them. Trident (and its need) became the talking point and whether it is an effective deterrent.
David Cameron’s policy for 18-21 year-olds not in work and community work (and if it should be extended to all) was the fourth question. Duncan Bannatyne liked the idea, but does not think it should be rolled out for all. Flint gave Labour’s proposals, which include a guarantee of a job for six months after a year. Norman Lamb (Lib Dems) said that education is the key, giving the best chance of employment. This was the route taken by Heseltine when answering. Compulsory volunteering seems an interesting definition; surely it can only be one or the other?
The final question asked whether Scotland would rule Westminster if there was a minority Labour government. Labour are claiming that votes for the SNP will increase the chances of a Cameron government, whilst Conservatives claim that votes for UKIP will increase the chances of a Miliband government.