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Britain's new political star keeps on rising as he beats rivals again in TV debate

2010-04-23 14:56 BJT

Special Report: Britain General Election |

BRISTOL, Britain, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Political attention in the British general election campaign on Thursday focused on the second of the live TV debates between the leaders of the three main parties, with viewers tuning in to see if current Golden Boy Nick Clegg could do it again -- and he did.

According to an instant telephone poll of 4,000 voters carried out by polling company ComRes right after the broadcast, the winner again was the Liberal Democrat leader Clegg with 33 percent of viewers saying he was the best. His opponents, Labor prime minister Gordon Brown and the Conservative's David Cameron were tied on 30 percent.

Another poll for the Sun by YouGov, put Cameron ahead on 36 percent, with Clegg second on 32 percent and Brown third on 29 percent.

It was not the huge level of support for Clegg that viewers showed last week when one poll said 65 percent of viewers saw him as the winner.

But, with hundreds of national and international media watching and waiting for the Clegg bandwagon to crash and burn, it kept on rolling. The two-party model of British politics that has endured beyond living memory remains on course for the breakers' yard.

Clegg put in a punchy performance, at one point characterizing the Conservative party's European Union political allies as a " bunch of nutters, anti-semites, homophobes".

The subject of this leg of the three-part debate was foreign policy, and Clegg's Lib Dems are the only party to back getting rid of the Britain's independent nuclear deterrent Trident submarines.

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Brown laid a carefully prepared punch on Clegg on nuclear defense, "Get real about the danger we face. North Korea, Iran."

The Conservative's Cameron also hit home, "We are safer having an independent deterrent in an unsafe world, we simply do not know what the world will look like in 40 years."

The media minders and party politicians, spin doctors who spin the news, were immediately in operation at the end of the debate, attempting to feed their take on events to the gathered journalists for their webcasts, live TV relays, radio broadcasts and Friday's front pages of the newspapers in a media scrum that was at times three or four deep.

Leading Conservative Michael Gove pitched to Xinhua, "I think David Cameron put on a superb performance tonight. He came out fighting, and it showed in the way he demanded policies from Gordon Brown. If people want a leader who doesn't beat around the bush and tells it like it is, David Cameron won. Clegg did not live up to expectations and proved himself out of depth on foreign affairs."