ITV1’s Sunday Edition programme won something of a coup this morning when they secured campaign trail interviews with both David Cameron and Gordon Brown. Below are some observations from the interviews but they will probably be remembered for Gordon Brown’s clear indication that he has no indication of calling an early General Election.
Location, location, location: DC was interviewed on a farm; GB on a train. The train location meant that GB kept being shrouded in black as his carriage passed through a tunnel. He turned in a lo-energy performance compared to David Cameron’s engaged and charismatic interview.
Thursday’s elections: DC was pressed again and again on winning in the north. He emphasised his hope for progress in Greater Manchester, Bolton and Bury. He said that the Tories were putting up more candidates than Labour in the North West and Yorkshire. Introduced by Andrew Rawnsley as Britain’s next Prime Minister GB conceded that Thursday’s results would partly be a judgment on his
Party change: DC (paraphrasing): ‘I’ve put Tories back in the centre ground by reforming candidate selection, changing the Tory position on NHS opt-outs and putting the environment at the heart of the party’s agenda although the necessary changes I have made are not on the scale that was necessary for Labour. I have a big idea – social responsibility. I’ve never had a grand plan to become Prime Minister from when I was at school. Greg Dyke would have been a good mayor and the LibDems had suffered "a failure of imagination" on the issue. GB gave little clue as to how his leadership would be different from Tony Blair. He said that Labour had achieved much in the last ten years – the end of stop-go and investment in public services being the highlights – and now needed to tackle today’s challenges.
Main line of questioning: DC was
mainly asked about the environment and said that conservation is a
central part of Conservatism. Six out of the top ten councils for
recycling are Tory – none are controlled by the LibDems or Labour. I
"bitterly regret" the fact that my government car followed my bike – it
will never happen again, he said. Without Conservative campaigning
there would not have been a Climate Change Bill in this current
parliamentary session. GB was mainly asked about the NHS. People who use the NHS do think it is getting better, the Chancellor said, and voters
won’t support the Tories when they see that David Cameron won’t match
The biggest challenges: The big question in today’s politics is the breakdown of society said DC. Security and terrorism, global economic competition and climate change were today’s great challenges said GB. On
security he said that more needed to be done to win ‘hearts and minds’
– in order to separate the extremists from the moderate mainstream.
This is a battle primarily within religions, he continued, not between
An early General Election: David
Cameron said that the Conservative Party was ready for a General
Election if Gordon Brown called one this year. He said that policies
on police reform, in favour of marriage and on the environment meant
that the Tories were ready. GB says the Labour Party was elected
for a full term. Throughout British history Prime Ministers have taken
over in the middle of parliaments and David Cameron did not call for an
immediate election when John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher.