What did our cousins in Britain do last night while eating their nightly meal of fish and chips? They watched the final pre-election debate between the leaders of the three major parties, of course! And guess who won?
What a week it's been for the UK! First, Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a woman a bigot for not being sure where Eastern Europeans come from (Eastern Europe), thereby making everyone hate him even more than they already did. And then, on Thursday night, the heads of the three major parties—Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat—met in a foggy clearing to see who could pull the sword from the stone and claim his place as the Once and Future Prime Minister.
Kidding! What actually happened is that three men, ranging in charisma and leadership skills from "unlikeable" to "tolerable if you don't think about it too much," appeared on television to argue with one another. The debate, which seems to have been held on the set of "The Weakest Link" (British for "Deal or No Deal"), was a three-way battle between "The New British Barack Obama," Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg; "The Old British Barack Obama," Conservative David Cameron; and "The British Joe Biden, But Less Affable," Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Except that it wasn't, really. Gordon Brown admitted at the end of the night that his party was not going to win next week. Instead, the conversation was mostly between Clegg, whose impressive ability to not be Gordon Brown or David Cameron in the first debate overshadowed the time he destroyed a German cactus collection, and Cameron, who has spent the last year fumbling the biggest opportunity for his party in more than a decade.
But he didn't fumble last night! According to most exit polls and pundits, Cameron "won" the debate by aggressively attacking Clegg's party's policies on immigration and the UK's relationship with Europe. The best moment, obviously, came when Cameron said, "we need to grip it very hard," and British Twitter exploded. For the record, he was talking about banks.
So what does this mean for the election? No one really seems to know: Most likely, Nick Clegg will play a kingmaking role, and unless Conservatives or Labour win running away, he could easily make an argument for forming a government with either party. So, um, nothing has really changed, except that poor Gordon Brown looks more and more sad with each passing day.
Bonus Political Analysis Question: What are Clegg and Brown doing, in that photo? With their legs? Does anyone know?