Is it me, or is Charles Kennedy on Question Time roughly every few weeks? Or does it just feel like it? Or do they have so few decent speakers they have to recycle them so often!
Question One: Budget
Fantastic start by George Osborne; attaches budget with fluency; big clap.
BTW, John Denham is very good and George Osborne seems to be playing a blinder! Big claps for the Shadow Chancellor and for tax cutting too!
Kennedy - a slow start; says Darling is hitting rock-bottom.
Woman in audience blaming Tories for everything (is it me, or was the ERM a long time ago now?)
Wow - lady in audience slates Labour and says they must take responsibility and stop blaming the Tories - biggest clap of the night so far.
Denham says Labour have done some good; starts listing "tractor production" style figures. Says he wants to be accountable for record.
Leading businesswoman Louise Horlicks says that the East is financing the debt of the West; she is very much on top of this brief and comes across as clever and rational.
Lady in audience says Chancellor is hypocritical for saying "stability" 22 times despite poor predictions of worse for the future!
Man says that politicans should agree and stop bickering; I totally disagree with this - we need debate in politics. If we all agreed, it wouldn't be democracy! I hate this glib statement that people throw out.
Salmond says Scottish parliament is all about agreement; Osborne says he gets on better with Darling than Brown; Osborne cites education reform as an example of cross-party co-operation.
Second Question: Swearing oath of allegance to Queen
Salmond says its daft; its all Monty Python! Good line to take IMHO. Ruins it by saying he won't take allegance to Britain - makes him look petty and rudely nationalistic. A mistake now.
John Denham says it won't work - causes division. An innovation too far, suggests DD - quite, says Denham. Says he wants debate about Britishness. Attacks Salmond - good on him - for not wanting to see Britishness.
School leaver in audience calls for pupils to be taught about monarchy/political system.
17-year-old in audience says that we should unite around sport rather than monarchy.
LibDem Kennedy says he doesn't agree with idea; says he is only British third - and then European! Deafening silence from audience - another blunder. Kennedy not on good form. Calls for a debate (standard answer from all palenists now).
Audience member says Queen is irrelevant. Horlick says sport is a good way to integrate; calls for more money to be spent on sport; Osborne says all these issues are part of the answer. Osborne is fluent and sensible - but dull on this question. Osborne quoting a Rabi. Gets a good clap from those still awake.
Question Three: Cameron's use of his children as Tories prepare to launch childcare policies - a publicity stunt?
Horlicks says its his personal choice - got his wife's OK for it. It's good if politicans show another side to them.
Kennedy says that he has never featured his son in this way, but he wouldn't attack Cameron because its his decision.
Audience member says it gives the media free reign now.
Salmond responds that it is a choice for Cameron, but that he wouldn't put his family forward. Attacks on family always upset politicians.
Denham says its personal choice too - Tony Blair did it. Says he used his 5 year old daughter in election leaflet in 1992, but says he regrets it now. Now challenges Cameron on Tory childcare policies in the past. DD says that Denham must be pleased that they've changed - Denham looks slightly awkward.
Osborne says that Leader of the Opposition is different because people want to know more about them and thus there will be more interest in their families. Osborne says real issue is the policies. Says that this will motivate people to know more about Cameron and help the choice of the next PM.
Audience member says that although it is detailed to policy, it is a gimmick. Another says that the children have no choice.
A clear win for Osborne, but Denham did very well. Both Kennedy and Salmond made good points but slipped up whilst neither of the other 2 did.