by Atul Hatwal
A thumping victory for Farage. That was the consensus following last night’s big debate. The pundits said it, the polls said it; there was little doubt.
But for people like me, who didn’t see the debate, and whose only sight of the combatants was on the evening news, the result was very different.
In the contest of the clips, Clegg was the winner.
This doesn’t mean that the verdict of those who saw the live debate was wrong. Just that, as so often is the case, the highlights reel told a different story.
The BBC News at Ten package, which would have had the most viewers, focused on four passages in the debate: the clash over Putin, immigration, past Lib Dem promises of a referendum and the closing statements.
Nick Robinson’s report can be seen here.
While Farage had the upper hand in the latter two exchanges, the first two were the most resonant.
On Putin, the key moment was when David Dimbleby intervened to contradict Nigel Farage’s assertion that he had never said he “admired Putin.”
Although most viewers are likely to have minimal interest in Nigel Farage’s position on Vladimir Putin, it’s always extremely powerful when the neutral debate moderator intervenes against one of the participants.
Quite apart from the topic under discussion, it sends a clear message to the viewing public that this politician isn’t being straight with the audience.